- A new study from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE) and the American Institutes for Research (AIR), published in the Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, claims that observing teachers in the classroom for the purpose of evaluation can "fail to meaningfully assess teacher performance."
- Instead, the study says that prior academic achievement by students is a better predictor of how well teachers are doing their jobs.
- “The misidentification of teachers’ performance levels has real implications for personnel decisions, and fundamentally calls into question an evaluation system’s ability to effectively and equitably improve, reward, and sanction teachers,” the study's authors said.
High-stakes teacher evaluations have been supported by powerful education advocates like the Gates Foundation, with Bill Gates reiterating his support for more rigorous standards at last year's U.S. Education Forum. During that address, Gates affirmed his support for the use of classroom observation in evaluating teacher performance.
Classroom observations have also been said to help control high teacher turnover by uncovering which teachers could benefit from additional instruction or mentorship.
Recently, states like New York have moved away from such high-stakes evaluations.