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Gates Foundation: Test scores not enough for teacher evaluation

The most reliable systems for measuring teacher effectiveness include a balanced mix of evaluation methods, researchers said—including student test scores, lesson observation, and student surveys.

After three years of research on measuring teacher effectiveness, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced Jan. 8 that it takes multiple measures to most accurately evaluate teachers.

The Seattle foundation concluded in its final report on its Measures of Effective Teaching research that test scores or principal evaluations are not enough on their own. The findings mirror what teachers unions have been saying.

Through incentives grants (such as Race to the Top) and waivers to No Child Left Behind rules, the federal government has been pushing states to update their teacher evaluation systems because it felt existing systems were inadequate.

At the same time, the Gates Foundation was studying these issues, saying it wanted to add to the discussion. Most states and big city districts have adopted some elements of the recommendations.

(Next page: What the research says)

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  1. sbh8812

    January 9, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    I absolutely agree! While the Gates Foundation may not always have the answers (does anyone??) it seems they’ve hit the nail on the head. As a previous teacher, a current home schooler, and a grad student in the Ed tech/ instructional tech field, I know without a doubt that testing is not the answer. Assessments mean far more than bubble responses and standard comparisons. In my experience, the best teachers are often the ones who DON’T teach to the test and instead meet students head on in terms of both needs and interests. Half the battle is motivation, which can never be measured via standardized test scores!