February 21, 2017

Amy N. Farley, (513) 556-5111, amy.farley@uc.edu
Daniel Quinn, (517) 203-2940, dquinn@greatlakescenter.org

Faulty logic and incomplete analyses limit report on teacher evaluation reform

EAST LANSING, Mich. (Feb. 21, 2017) — In December 2016, Bellwether Education Partners released a report that advocated for the maintenance of key elements of high-stakes teacher evaluation, with a focus on accountability and the use of student outcomes to evaluate teachers. The report sought to influence states' decisions about possible revisions to teacher evaluation policies under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). An academic review of the report finds that its conclusions are underdeveloped and unsubstantiated.

Amy Farley, University of Cincinnati, reviewed For Good Measure? Teacher Evaluation Policy in the ESSA Era for the Think Twice think tank review project. Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center, is funded in part by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

Since 2009, the federal government has spurred states make wide reaching changes to teacher evaluation laws. This report sought to review recent teacher evaluation policy movement and identify positive outcomes of the new systems and negative consequences. It urged policymakers to move slowly in revising their systems.

Farley says, "While the report raises several good questions with regard to the future of teacher evaluation, it overstates the likelihood that ESSA will result in widespread changes to evaluations."

According to Farley, the report ignores the extant literature regarding substantial technical challenges and unintended consequences of growth measures. Also, the report dismissed the ideological and political debates surrounding teacher accountability.

In conclusion, Farley finds "The unsubstantiated claims and dogged defense of student growth metrics provide little fresh or worthwhile new directions to policymakers seeking a nuanced and research-based discussion of teacher evaluation reform in the ESSA era."

Find the review on the GLC website:

Find the report on the web:

Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center, provides the public, policymakers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible by funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

The review can also be found on the NEPC website:

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The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research & 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.

Visit the Great Lakes Center website at http://www.greatlakescenter.org/