Magazine article District Administration

Test Scores + Observations + Surveys = Effective Teacher Ratings

Magazine article District Administration

Test Scores + Observations + Surveys = Effective Teacher Ratings

Article excerpt

Students' state test scores can accurately identify good teachers, but aren't the only piece of the puzzle: a teacher's rating is most reliable when test scores are combined with classroom observations and student surveys, according to a study of 3,000 teachers from seven U.S. public school districts.

The Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) project, a three-year study designed to determine how to best identify and promote great teaching, released its final research report in January. Participating teachers and students were enrolled in math and English language arts (ELA) in grades 4 through 8, algebra I at the high school level, biology (or its equivalent) at the high school level, and English in grade 9.

The project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is the first large-scale study to demonstrate that it is possible to identify effective teaching by using random assignment, an experimental technique for assigning subjects (in this case, students) to different conditions (teachers) to control for student differences. In the 2009-2010 school year, the first year of the study, teachers were rated using student surveys, classroom observations, and student achievement gains. The second year, students were randomly assigned to different classrooms. Those who were assigned to teachers who previously had been identified as more effective performed better on both state tests and more cognitively challenging assessments in math and English at the end of the 2010-2011 school year. …

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