Linda Darling-Hammond on teacher evaluation

9 May

Moi wrote in The search for quality teachers goes on:

Moi received the press release about improving teacher training standards from the Commission on Standards and Performance Reporting which is an outgrowth of he Teacher Education Accreditation Council, or TEAC, and the far larger and older National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, or NCATE now called CAEP. Trip Gabriel has an article in the New York Times,Teachers Colleges Upset By Plans to Grade Them about the coming U.S. News Report on teacher colleges. This project is being underwritten in part by the Carnegie Corporation and Broad Foundation. A test of the proposed project was completed in Illinois. You can go here to get a copy of the report. The National Council on Teacher Quality has information about the project at their site.

Stephen Sawchuck is reporting in the Education Week article, Teacher-Prep Accreditor Names Standards-Setting Panel:

An external panel that includes several prominent critics of teacher education has been tapped to craft the performance standards for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, the new organization’s leaders announced last week.

Among the standards under consideration: how programs ensure that candidates know their content; the programs’ ability to recruit an academically strong pool of candidates; their success in training teachers to use assessment data effectively; and the performance of their graduates in classrooms….

According to to the press release of CAEP:

The Commission is taking the recommendations of a Blue Ribbon Panel on Clinical Preparation and Partnerships for Improved Student Learning to the next level. The Panel’s report, released a year ago, said it was time to “turn teacher education upside-down.” That Panel urged increased oversight and expectations for educator preparation and the expansion of new delivery models in which teacher candidates work more directly in clinically based settings from the beginning of their preparation as in medical education. The panel also called for preparation programs to operate in new types of partnerships between higher education and P-12 schools in which both systems share responsibility for preparation.

Strong Accountability Tied to New Data Systems, Assessments

The development of longitudinal data systems and of a new generation of performance assessments will dramatically improve the quantity and quality of evidence of student and teacher performance, allowing programs to study the impact of graduates on student outcomes within the accreditation process. New, more robust assessments, such as the TPA (Teacher Performance Assessment) being pilot tested in more than 25 states, and tools such as observational protocols and student feedback, will help identify effective teaching practices. Information from these assessments will inform preparation programs and will provide new data points previously unavailable….

Every population of kids is different and they arrive at school at various points on the ready to learn continuum. Schools and teachers must be accountable, but there should be various measures of judging teacher effectiveness for a particular population of children. Perhaps, more time and effort should be spent in developing a strong principal corps and giving principals the training and assistance in evaluation and mentoring techniques.

Three recent articles examine teacher effectiveness from the perspective of students training to become teachers, teachers, and students. The first article examines a very effective teacher training program. Amy Hetzner and Becky Vevea of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel have written the article, How Best to Educate Future Teachers which is part of a series

Dave Eggers and NÍnive Clements Calegari have a provocative article in the New York Times, The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries

At the moment, the average teacher’s pay is on par with that of a toll taker or bartender. Teachers make 14 percent less than professionals in other occupations that require similar levels of education. In real terms, teachers’ salaries have declined for 30 years. The average starting salary is $39,000; the average ending salary — after 25 years in the profession — is $67,000. This prices teachers out of home ownership in 32 metropolitan areas, and makes raising a family on one salary near impossible.

The Center for American Progress has a report by Frank Adamson and Linda Darling Hammond.

In the report, Speaking of Salaries: What It Will Take to Get Qualified, Effective Teachers In All Communities Adamson and Darling- Hammond write:

As Education Trust President Kati Haycock has noted, the usual statistics about teacher credentials, as shocking as they are, actually understate the degree of the problem in the most impacted schools:

The fact that only 25% of the teachers in a school are uncertified doesn’t mean that the other 75% are fine. More often, they are either brand new, assigned to teach out of field, or low-performers on the licensure exam … there are, in other words, significant numbers of schools that are essentially dumping grounds for unqualified teachers – just as they are dumping grounds for the children they serve.The problem of inequitably distributed teachers has continued to be a widespread major concern despite the intentions expressed in NCLB as well as noteworthy progress in some states. Disparity in the access of rich and poor children to well-qualified teachers is one of the constant issues surfaced in the more than 40 state school finance suits that are currently active across the country.

Download this report (pdf)

Download the executive summary (pdf)

Linda Darling-Hammond of Stanford has written a new report about teacher evaluation.

In the Washington Post article, Teacher evaluation: What it should look like, Darling-Hammond summarizes her new report on teacher evaluation:

Darling-Hammond’s report, entitled “Creating a Comprehensive System for Evaluating and Supporting Effective Teaching,” explains the essential components of any fair teacher evaluation system — and provides examples of where it is working. Here are the necessary criteria she says should be part of an effective teacher-evaluation system:

1. Teacher evaluation should be based on professional teaching standards and should be sophisticated enough to assess teaching quality across the continuum of development from novice to expert teacher.

2. Evaluations should include multi-faceted evidence of teacher practice, student learning, and professional contributions that are considered in an integrated fashion, in relation to one another and to the teaching context. Any assessments used to make judgments about students’ progress should be appropriate for the specific curriculum and students the teacher teaches.

3. Evaluators should be knowledgeable about instruction and well trained in the evaluation system, including the process of how to give productive feedback and how to support ongoing learning for teachers. As often as possible, and always at critical decision-making junctures (e.g., tenure or renewal), the evaluation team should include experts in the specific teaching field.

4. Evaluation should be accompanied by useful feedback, and connected to professional development opportunities that are relevant to teachers’ goals and needs, including both formal learning opportunities and peer collaboration, observation, and coaching.

5. The evaluation system should value and encourage teacher collaboration, both in the standards and criteria that are used to assess teachers’ work, and in the way results are used to shape professional learning opportunities.

6. Expert teachers should be part of the assistance and review process for new teachers and for teachers needing extra assistance. They can provide the additional subject-specific expertise and person-power needed to ensure that intensive and effective assistance is offered and that decisions about tenure and continuation are well grounded.

7. Panels of teachers and administrators should oversee the evaluation process to ensure that it is thorough and of high quality, as well as fair and reliable. Such panels have been shown to facilitate more timely and well-grounded personnel decisions that avoid grievances and litigation. Teachers and school leaders should be involved in developing, implementing, and monitoring the system to ensure that it reflects good teaching well, that it operates effectively, that it is tied to useful learning opportunities for teachers, and that it produces valid results.

Darling-Hammond explains why using value-added models is a bad idea. She notes that they:

* are “highly unstable,” as teachers’ ratings “differ substantially from class to class and from year to year;”

* are significantly affected by differences in students — even when value-added formulas attempt to control for various factors such as prior achievement and student demographic variables.

* cannot adequately deal with the various influences on a student that could affect performance on a test, both in school and out of school — and “these matter more than the individual teacher in explaining changes in scores.”

This does not mean, however, that student achievement should not be included in a teacher evaluation system. A variety of other measures of student learning are useful in teacher evaluation, including evidence taken from classroom assessments and student science investigations, research papers or art projects.


Darling-Hammond, L. (2012). Creating a comprehensive system for evaluating and supporting effective teaching.

Stanford, CA. Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education.

Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education

Barnum Center, 505 Lasuen Mall

Stanford, California 94305

Phone: 650.725.8600

Everyone is searching for the magic formula to produce a bumper crop of quality teachers.


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