Teacher evaluation in PreK: Using student data is risky


Based on analysis of research and states’ teacher evaluation plans, the Early Education Initiative at the New America Foundation recommends:

1. Account for specific attributes of PreK-3rd teachers—When setting policies related to the untested grades and subjects, treat PreK-3rd teachers as a distinct group; measures used to determine student growth and teacher effectiveness should measure not just reading and math, but other skills, such as executive-functioning skills; and include teacher input and current research when discussing the creation of these new evaluations.

2. Pilot and evaluate—Before full implementation, states and school districts should pilot student learning measures, coordinating a staged implementation of the teacher evaluation system to address issues that arise.

3. Do not use “shared attribution” measures from later grades as the sole measure of student growth to evaluate early grade teachers—Data on students that a teacher has either never taught or taught years before are not reflective of that teacher’s talents or deficiencies. Neither is the information derived from these data of much help when it comes to informing the teacher’s own instruction, since assessments may be given after he or she has a certain group of students.

(Next page: 9 key considerations)

Meris Stansbury

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