NAICU Washington Update

An About-Face on Using Value-Added Scores for Evaluating Teachers?

April 08, 2013

Within days of each other, both Bill Gates and Jay Mathews, a highly regarded national education writer, announced through The Washington Post their new positions on how best to evaluate teacher performance. Both Mathews and the Gates Foundation previously were vocal supporters of utilizing testing and value-added scores for assessing teachers, but now Mathews and the Foundation’s principle funder are backing away from relying solely on such measures. Do those shifts, in conjunction with the backlash against high stakes standardized testing in states across the country, signal a new direction for teacher performance evaluations?

Impact on Assessing Teacher Prep Programs?

Research from leading schools of education shows that value-added assessments are not valid and reliable measures for evaluating teacher preparation programs.

NAICU has long been a supporter of using multiple measures for teacher performance evaluations as they relate to appraising the quality of teacher preparation programs, of weighing the many attributes that contribute to a successful teacher rather than relying only on student standardized test scores. Specifically, NAICU supports the following for reform of teacher preparation programs: that accountability be based on valid and reliable research, evaluations be based on multiple measures, data be used for improvement rather than punitive purposes, and teacher performance evaluations remain a state responsibility.

We hear that the anticipated teacher preparation regulations from the Department of Education are still waiting their turn for OMB approval. Will the recent change of heart from Gates, the principal funder of the country’s most influential education foundation, cause the Department to rethink its direction, or will the administration march forward with proscriptive, value-added regulations?

Whatever the administration decides to do, the fact Gates and Mathews are rethinking their positions is certain to help the cause for a more nuanced approach to evaluating both teachers and teacher preparation programs.

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