Designing Teacher Evaluation Systems: New Guidance from the Measures of Effective Teaching Project
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WHAT IS EFFECTIVE TEACHING? It’s not enough to say “I know it when I see it” – not when we’re expecting so much more from students and teachers than in the past. To help teachers achieve greater success with their students we need new and better ways to identify and develop effective teaching.

The Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) project represents a groundbreaking effort to find out what works in the classroom. With funding by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the MET project brought together leading academics, education groups, and 3,000 teachers to study teaching and learning from every angle. Its reports on student surveys, observations, and other measures have shaped policy and practice at multiple levels.

This book shares the latest lessons from the MET project. With 15 original studies, some of the field’s most preeminent experts tap the MET project’s unprecedented collection of data to offer new insights on evaluation methods and the current state of teaching in our schools. As feedback and evaluation methods evolve rapidly across the country, Designing Teacher Evaluation Systems is a must read and timely resource for those working on this critical task.


“This book brings together an all-star team to provide true data-driven, policy-relevant guidance for improving teaching and learning. From student achievement to student perceptions, from teacher knowledge to teacher practices, the authors address key issues surrounding the elements of a comprehensive teacher evaluation and improvement system. Highly recommended for anyone seriously interested in reform.”
—PETE GOLDSCHMIDT, Assistant Secretary, New Mexico Public Education Department

“This book is an invaluable resource for district and state leaders who are looking to develop growth and performance systems that capture the complexity of teaching and provide educators with the feedback needed to develop in their profession.”
—TOM BOASBERG, Superintendent, Denver Public Schools

“A rare example of practical questions driving top quality research and a must read for anyone interested in improving the quality of teaching.”
—ROBERT C. GRANGER, Former President (Ret.), The William T. Grant Foundation

“This will be the ‘go to’ source in years to come for those involved in rethinking how teachers will be evaluated and how evaluation can and should be used to increase teacher effectiveness. The superb panel of contributors to this book presents work that is incisive, informative, and accessible, providing a real service to the national efforts around teacher evaluation reform.”
—JOHN H. TYLER, Professor of Education, Brown University



THOMAS J. KANE is Professor of Education and Economics at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

KERRI A. KERR is an Education Research and Policy Consultant working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

ROBERT C. PIANTA is Dean of the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia.

The BILL & MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION seeks to significantly improve education so that all young people have the opportunity to reach their full potential.


About the Editors ix

About the Contributors xi

About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation xix

Chapter 1: Why Measure Effective Teaching? 1
Jeff Archer, Kerri A. Kerr, and Robert C. Pianta

SECTION 1: Using Data for Feedback and Evaluation 7

Chapter 2: Grade-Level Variation in Observational Measures of Teacher Effectiveness 9
Kata Mihaly and Daniel F. McCaffrey

Chapter 3: Improving Observational Score Quality: Challenges in Observer Thinking 50
Courtney A. Bell, Yi Qi, Andrew J. Croft, Dawn Leusner, Daniel F. McCaffrey, Drew H. Gitomer, and Robert C. Pianta

Chapter 4: How Framework for Teaching and Tripod 7Cs Evidence Distinguish Key Components of Effective Teaching 98
Ronald F. Ferguson with Charlotte Danielson

Chapter 5: Making Decisions with Imprecise Performance Measures: The Relationship Between Annual Student Achievement Gains and a Teacher’s Career Value Added 144
Douglas O. Staiger and Thomas J. Kane

Chapter 6: To What Extent Do Student Perceptions of Classroom Quality Predict Teacher Value Added? 170
Stephen W. Raudenbush and Marshall Jean

SECTION 2: Connecting Evaluation Measures with Student Learning 203

Chapter 7: Combining Classroom Observations and Value Added for the Evaluation and Professional Development of Teachers 205
Erik A. Ruzek, Christopher A. Hafen, Bridget K. Hamre, and Robert C. Pianta

Chapter 8: Classroom Observation and Value-Added Models Give Complementary Information About Quality of Mathematics Teaching 234
Candace Walkington and Michael Marder

Chapter 9: Does the Test Matter? Evaluating Teachers When Tests Differ in Their Sensitivity to Instruction 278
Morgan S. Polikoff

Chapter 10: Understanding Instructional Quality in English Language Arts: Variations in PLATO Scores by Content and Context 303
Pam Grossman, Julie Cohen, and Lindsay Brown

Chapter 11: How Working Conditions Predict Teaching Quality and Student Outcomes 332
Ronald F. Ferguson with Eric Hirsch

SECTION 3: The Properties of Evaluation Systems: Issues of Quality, Underlying Frameworks, and Design Decisions 381

Chapter 12: Evaluating Efforts to Minimize Rater Bias in Scoring Classroom Observations 383
Yoon Soo Park, Jing Chen, and Steven L. Holtzman

Chapter 13: Scoring Design Decisions: Reliability and the Length and Focus of Classroom Observations 415
Jilliam N. Joe, Catherine A. McClellan, and Steven L. Holtzman

Chapter 14: Assessing Quality Teaching in Science 444
Susan E. Schultz and Raymond L. Pecheone

Chapter 15: Evidence on the Validity of Content Knowledge for Teaching Assessments 493
Drew H. Gitomer, Geoffrey Phelps, Barbara H. Weren, Heather Howell, and Andrew J. Croft

Chapter 16: Optimizing Resources to Maximize Student Gains 529
Catherine A. McClellan, John R. Donoghue, and Robert Pianta

Conclusion: Measuring Effective Teaching—The Future Starts Now 583
Robert Pianta and Kerri A. Kerr

Author Index 591

Subject Index 599