IMPACT From Teacher Eval?

New study of DC’s teacher evaluation program – IMPACT – out today (pdf). Getting a ride in The Times this morning. The researchers found positive effects associated with the evaluation system in D.C. and it’s a significant evaluation. Other than all the usual caveats about any study three things seem relevant here.

First, IMPACT is among the more robust of the new teacher evaluation schemes states and school districts are putting in place. It’s linked to the teachers’ contract in D.C. and its upside and downside incentives are substantial (in other words you can earn a lot more or lose your job).  Overall, k-12 education has long been the bastion of weak incentives – for instance, a few hundred bucks to be a mentor teacher, light-touch compliance-oriented accountability, and steps and lanes salary schemes that do not incentivize performance .  Again and again evidence does seem to point to more significant incentives as being more effective. The research on school accountability schemes shows this pretty clearly, the evidence on the impact of school choice does, some research on teacher pay points in this direction and on school turnarounds the evidence indicates that lighter touch approaches are largely a waste of time and resources but more substantial turnarounds can achieve results. Punchline: Be cautious of half measures.

Second, teacher evaluations are a fluid part of the sector right now with a great deal of change in the past few years.  In many places we’ve gone from effectively evaluating no one to trying to evaluate everyone in just a couple of school years. It’s a necessary and overdue change, but also a complicated one and there have not surprisingly been some bumps in the road.  IMPACT has been revised since its inception – a willingness to heed feedback and adjust is a credit to district leaders in D.C. Punchline: Don’t let a caution of half measures turn into an unwillingness to make changes. 

Third, there is a big debate right now about whether statewide evaluation systems are desirable or workable.  It’s worth noting that while DC operates as a state, in practice it’s large urban school district.  So this evaluation is really an evaluation of a district evaluation system rather than a statewide one.

5 thoughts on “IMPACT From Teacher Eval?

  1. PhillipMarlowe

    From the report:
    There’s plenty for DCPS stakeholders to dislike in the newly released school-based budget allocations proposed for 2012-13. While they reflect a two-percent increase in the Uniform Per Student Funding Formula, they will still mean larger class sizes–as in, fewer teachers–at the middle and high school levels, along with cuts in positions such as special education coordinator.
    One of the drivers of this unpleasant news is the projected exhaustion of the private foundation money that has underwritten IMPACT bonuses for “highly effective” teachers under the terms of the 2010 collective bargaining agreement. After the current school year, the annual cost of the bonuses–about $7.2 million for the first two years of the program, according DCPS–will be borne by the individual schools. For FY 2013, those bonus obligations will be loaded into the average cost of a classroom teacher, which will rise from $90,681 to $95,574. DCPS was clear in 2010 that this reckoning was coming. The $64 million pledged by the Broad, Arnold, Robertson and Walton foundations was a three-year ride set to end in the fall of 2012. What was largely unexpected was to see these costs passed down to the school level.

  2. Andry

    The Edu-Curator Foundation is removing barriers of class and privilege and to trigger a positive change. We believe that access to basic education is the right of each individual ,we focus on the character building of students to equip them with high moral values and confidence to achieve these goals, the Edu-Curator Foundation is constantly surveying education-deprived locations in Pakistan to extend its network, of each new location is appraised through an extensive land survey, assessment of population, income level, number and standard of existing schools in the area, demand for new school units, availability of an accessible site to build a school, qualified teachers in the area and a number of other criteria.

  3. Benazeer

    The Edu-Curator Foundation is removing barriers of class and privilege and to trigger a positive change. We believe that access to basic education is the right of each individual ,we focus on the character building of students to equip them with high moral values and confidence to achieve these goals, the Edu-Curator Foundation is constantly surveying education-deprived locations in Pakistan to extend its network, of each new location is appraised through an extensive land survey, assessment of population, income level, number and standard of existing schools in the area, demand for new school units, availability of an accessible site to build a school, qualified teachers in the area and a number of other criteria.

  4. Bill Jones

    The education policy debate is stale and growing old by the minute.

    On the ground, where real education occurs in math and physics, we thumb our noses at the policy experts. They are puffed up know nothings.

  5. Bill Jones

    DC, according to the recent TIMMS/NAEP report ranks dead last: Below impoverished countries. DC has had loads of time to straighten out their mess.

    And what do the leaders say? They say innovation takes time.

    I would not stand for that blather as a shareholder.

    Fire them all. Clean the slate. Start over

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