Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) Project Makes Important Contribution to Research Base
Highlights the Variability in Teacher Performance Measures Based on Classroom Observation Instruments, Raises Important Questions
EAST LANSING, Mich. (March 13, 2012) – The Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) project, published by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, examines several methods of evaluating teacher performance, including so-called value-added measures, the subject of much recent attention.
The project's second report, Gathering Feedback for Teaching: Combining High-Quality Observation with Student Surveys and Achievement Gains, focuses on analyzing ratings of classroom observations using a variety of observation instruments. Cassandra Guarino of Indiana University and Brian Stacy of Michigan State University reviewed it for the Think Twice think tank review project. The review was produced by the National Education Policy Center with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.
Reviewers Guarino and Stacy question the emphasis placed on validating classroom observations with test score gains. Observation scores may pick up different aspects of teacher quality than do test-based measures. It is possible that neither type of measure used in isolation captures a teacher's contribution to all the useful skills that students learn in schools. From this standpoint, the authors' conclusion that multiple measures of teacher effectiveness are needed is justifiable.
The omission of relevant information is a shortcoming of the report. Key details regarding the study design and methodological approach are lacking.
The review provoked several important questions to consider:
The authors conclude that the report offers ground-breaking descriptive information regarding classroom observation tools and raises many questions to be addressed in future research. It takes a large step forward but only scratches the surface in exploring how these measures can best be used or improved upon as evaluation tools.
Find the review by Cassandra Guarino and Brian Stacy on the Great Lakes Center website at:
Find Gathering Feedback for Teaching: Combining High-Quality Observation with Student Surveys and Achievement Gains by Thomas J. Kane and Douglas O. Staiger on the web at:
Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center, provides the public, policy makers, and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible in part by funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.
The review is also available on the National Education Policy Center website at:
The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform.