The Case to include Student Achievement Data in Teacher Evaluation Programs

The issue many local school districts and states are now being faced with is whether or not to include student achievement/performance in their respective teacher evaluation programs.

Proponents for using student achievement as a teacher evaluation measure, rightfully contend that the new measure will help districts better evaluate their teachers, as well as locate areas where teachers are struggling and immediately work with those teachers to improve. States are beginning to get the message.

Two years ago, only four states used student achievement as a predominant indicator of teacher performance. Currently, the number is 13 and rising according to the 2011 national report from the National Council on Teacher Quality. According to Dr. Steve Cantrell, Co-Director of the Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) Project, research confirms teacher evaluation systems based on multiple measures are a superior way to gauge teacher quality. The report demonstrated that using different measures – student assessments, classroom observations, and student surveys – helped predict whether teachers would raise the performance of future groups of students. Furthermore, a combination of these measures does a far better job predicting which teachers will succeed in raising student performance than master’s degrees and years of teaching experience.

The state of Tennessee implemented a new teacher evaluation system called Tennessee Educator Acceleration Model (TEAM).  Under TEAM, at least fifty percent of that evaluation must be based on student growth (35%) and student achievement (15%). A student’s growth in Tennessee is determined by the TVAAS (Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System), a statistical method that compares each student’s actual growth to his/her projected growth. Also, the student achievement has to be determined by a matrix of options by teachers and principals for this 15% achievement measure component.

The goal behind linking student achievement data with teacher evaluations is that it gives teachers the opportunity to track the impact over time that they are making on their students. This information is also crucial for local districts that are looking for programs to increase the number of effective teachers in their schools. Using a combination of measures, including student achievement data and traditional observational techniques, will help give these districts more information on which to evaluate their teachers. As previously stated, effective teachers are known to have a positive impact on their students, and that is accomplished by using student achievement data in teacher evaluation programs.


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