Teacher Effectiveness Study Offers Lessons for Delaware

December 15th, 2010

Category: News

Student perceptions and previous students’ performance are the best predictors of teacher effectiveness, according the initial findings from the Gates Foundation’s Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) Project.  The Gates Foundation launched MET in the fall of 2009 with the goal of answering such questions as: what are common characteristics and/or actions shared by effective educators?  How can we objectively measure these characteristics to improve practice within our classrooms through observations and targeted support? 

Already, much has been made nationally and locally about these findings, which should inform conversations in Delaware as we develop a statewide evaluation system.  For instance, while the focus seems to center on defining a year’s worth of growth on DCAS, what other higher-order assessments could we incorporate into our multiple measures to ensure teachers aren’t simply “teaching to the test”?   In addition, how could we incorporate students, parents, and community stakeholders in the evaluation process of their teachers? 

Expanded results from year one should be released in April 2011 (with final results released winter 2011-2012) and should help inform future Race to the Top efforts, such as performance bonuses and selection into teacher leadership roles.  These results will inform how teachers can get support with the potential for feedback from multiple sources throughout the school year in order to continually improve practice.  This might involve a student survey on engagement after the first couple weeks of instruction to assess instructional rigor or a deep dive with the campus instructional leader on classroom practices to assess instructional practices (such as checking for student understanding).  

What do you think?  If you were designing a teacher evaluation system, what elements would you incorporate?  What would it look like on a day-to-day basis for teachers?

Brett Turner