Ideas & Innovations

MET’ Made Simple: Building Research-Based Teacher Evaluations

January 13, 2012


‘MET’ Made Simple: Building Research-Based Teacher Evaluations

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In January 2012, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation released new findings from Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) initiative, a research project of unprecedented scope involving 3,000 teachers in six school districts across the country. The findings can help policymakers develop research-based evaluation systems that could unleash the untapped potential in the nation’s teaching force. 

TNTP's companion guide, 'MET' Made Simple, outlines the most important findings, along with implementation recommendations based on our experience helping states and urban school districts across the country improve teacher evaluation systems. Key points include:

  • Teachers generally appear to be managing their classrooms well, but are struggling with fundamental instructional skills. This is a sobering reality, but it points to enormous untapped potential in the current teacher workforce.
  • Classroom observations can give teachers valuable feedback, but are of limited value for predicting future performance. Observations can help teachers understand their strengths and weaknesses, but they can’t accurately predict future success in the classroom. This is significant, because most schools currently evaluate teachers primarily or solely based on observations.
  • “Value-added” analysis is more powerful than any other single measure in predicting a teacher’s long-term contributions to student success. It also reflects more than just high standardized test scores. Teachers with high value-added scores helped students master higher-level thinking skills and even helped them enjoy school more.
  • Evaluations that combine several strong performance measures will produce the most accurate results. MET researchers gave an academic seal of approval to the approach to improving teacher evaluations that many states and districts are already developing: a combination of multiple measures, including student learning.
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