Sunday, December 12, 2010

Measuring effective teachers: first findings

The Measuring Effective Teachers Project published some initial results Friday.  This giant project involves almost 3,000 teachers in seven urban school districts who volunteered to test themselves, test their students, survey their students, and be observed by video and scored against an array of different evaluation rubrics.  From the first year of work, the project reports four major findings:
First, in every grade and subject we studied, a teacher’s past success in raising student achievement on state tests (that is, his or her value-added) is one of the strongest predictors of his or her ability to do so again.
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Second, the teachers with the highest value-added scores on state tests also tend to help students understand math concepts or demonstrate reading comprehension through writing.
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Third, the average student knows effective teaching when he or she experiences it.
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Fourth, valid feedback need not be limited to test scores alone. By combining different sources of data, it is possible to provide diagnostic, targeted feedback to teachers who are eager to improve.
It's a little disappointing that the first report shares nothing from the video observation part of the project, especially after the method (as opposed to its results) so recently drew national coverage.  Instead, we'll need to wait until:

  • Late spring 2011 for findings from the classroom observations.
  • Late summer 2011 for a proposal on how to weight the various factors in stronger overall evaluations
  • Early 2012 for reports on how participating teachers changed student achievement when working with students assigned to them by random sample. (This first report used data from students assigned to each teacher by their own school’s regular approaches, both during the study and—where possible—during the previous school year.)

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Updates and data on Kentucky education!