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What Have We Learned from the Gates-Funded Teacher Evaluation Reforms?

Education Next – Matthew A. Kraft

“Nine years, $575 million dollars, and 500-plus pages later, what have we learned about the Gates Foundation’s ambitious efforts to improve teacher effectiveness through evaluation and human capital reforms? The headlines about the RAND Corporation’s recently released final report have focused on the lack of any consistent effects on student outcomes, but the real story here is the many insights about implementation—what actually happened on the ground—based on rich qualitative and survey data. Here are some of my key takeaways from the report.” (more)

5 Ways to Improve Teacher Evaluation Systems

Edutopia – Michael Moody

“Current approaches to assessing teacher effectiveness aren’t working. The instruments used for observation are overly complicated, and training for observers is often inadequate. Furthermore, the challenges associated with the use of student achievement data, and the political nature in which these processes were mandated in the first place, all make this a very challenging problem to address. Indeed, a recent report by the Brookings Institution suggests that “teacher observations have been a waste of time and money.”” (more)

Were Teacher Evaluation Reforms a Net Positive or Net Negative?

Education Next – Matthew A. Kraft

“When I present my research on teacher evaluation reforms, I’m often asked whether, at the end of the day, these reforms were a good or bad thing. This is a fair question—and one that is especially important to grapple with given that state policymakers are currently deciding on whether to refine or reject these systems under ESSA. For all the nuanced research and mixed findings that concern teacher evaluation reforms and how teachers’ unions have shaped these reforms on the ground, what is the end result of the considerable time, money, and effort we have invested?.” (more)

Hiring teachers based on ‘likability’ is not the best practice

Education Dive – Linda Jacobson

“With districts continuing to report shortages of teachers in multiple subject areas, a pair of new reports delves into the methods that schools are using to fill teaching positions, suggesting that smarter recruitment strategies and less reliance on whether the candidate is “likable” could not only help schools find teachers, but also keep them.” (more)

Thriving in Your First Years as a Teacher

Edutopia – Andrea Marshbank

“It is a universal truth that early career teachers are overwhelmed. Between classroom management issues, lesson plans, and grading, we’re oftentimes drowning. With all the pressure to simply survive our first few years of teaching, doing anything else in the name of improvement may seem impossible. As a second-year teacher, I have days when I find myself treating life’s necessities, like sleeping, as if they were optional activities.”(more)