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Teacher Evaluation Models: Policy Research

Page history last edited by Sarah Cohodes 14 years, 5 months ago

Teacher Evaluation Models: Home   

Typically, teacher evaluation consists of principal observation of a teacher’s practice with a rating of that teacher on a binary “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory” scale.  Some school districts have more detailed scales that might include levels like “unsatisfactory,” “basic,” “proficient,” and “advanced.”        

  • Few Teachers Rated Poorly:  When using a satisfactory/unsatisfactory scale, less than one percent of teachers are rated unsatisfactory; when using a more detailed scale, still less than one percent of teachers are rated unsatisfactory and 94 percent of teachers are rated in one of the top two categories (Weisberg, et al., 2009). 

  • Drive-By Evaluations: Evaluation is implemented differently across school districts, but the typical observation based evaluation system requires little time spent in the classroom by the evaluator (often the principal), no specific evaluation training for the evaluator, and a rubric that may focus on superficial aspects of teaching, such as employee dress and attendance, rather than instruction (Toch & Rothman, 2008). 
  • Lake Wobegon Effect: A recent report by The New Teacher Project, The Widget Effect, also notes that these cursory evaluations are coupled with a culture where all teachers expect to get high ratings (Weisberg, et al., 2009).  The Center for American Progress calls this the “Lake Wobegon effect,” where all teachers are above-average (Donaldson, 2009).  In such a culture, it is rare for evaluations to accurately reflect the quality of a teacher’s instruction.


Sample Evaluation Rubrics


Boston Public Schools Teacher Performance Evaluation


Cincinnati Teacher Evaluation System


Teacher Advancement Program (TAP) Observation Rubric


Texas Professional Development and Appraisal System


Learn More About the Research on Teacher Evaluation


Download the Report (Erin Borthwick, Sarah Cohodes, James Sennette, and Andrea Touhey)


The Widget Effect (The New Teacher Project)


So Long, Lake Wobegon (Center for American Progress)


Rush to Judgement (EducationSector)

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