Report Fails to Sufficiently Address the Evidence Surrounding Teacher Evaluation

BOULDER, CO (December 4, 2018) – A new report from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) highlights six teacher evaluation systems purportedly “yielding substantial benefits.” This comes at the end of a decade when reformed teacher evaluation systems that link teacher performance to measures of student growth have been at the center of educational debate.

Amy Farley and Leah Chamberlain of the University of Cincinnati reviewed Making a Difference: Six Places Where Teacher Evaluation Systems Are Getting Results. They find that the report does little to enrich an already tired conversation about linking teacher evaluation to student achievement.

Overall, the research regarding teacher evaluation is mixed, at best. Most notably, a recent multi-year RAND report suggests that a $500 million investment in teacher evaluation that heavily weighted student growth measures, with considerable funding from the Gates Foundation, did not improve student outcomes. In fact, the reform may have exacerbated unequal access to effective teachers for low-income students and students of color. 

While the NCTQ report promotes these approaches to teacher evaluation, Farley and Chamberlain explain how it fails to seriously counter the groundswell of academic literature critiquing these systems. It also does not present a compelling justification for its site selection or the criteria used for inclusion of evidence.  Instead, it appears to rely on a limited set of data drawn mostly from internal reports or interviews with district or state representatives and does not adequately consider disconfirming or contradictory evidence.

These methodological flaws limit the validity of the report’s findings, they conclude, which ultimately diminishes its usefulness for policy and practice. 

Find the review, by Amy Farley and Leah Chamberlain, at:
http://nepc.colorado.edu/thinktank/review-teacher-eval

Find Making a Difference: Six Places Where Teacher Evaluation Systems Are Getting Results, written by Hannah Putman, Kate Walsh, and Elizabeth Ross and published by the National Council on Teacher Quality, at:
https://www.nctq.org/dmsView/NCTQ_Report_-_Making_a_Difference

NEPC Reviews (http://thinktankreview.org) provide the public, policymakers, and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. NEPC Reviews are made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice: http://www.greatlakescenter.org

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at: https://nepc.colorado.edu