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TNTP Re-imagine Teaching

Gates Ends Investment in Teacher Evaluation: What That Means for the Field

October 23, 2017 | Liana Heitin Loewus, Education Week

Federal Incentives Push State Change

Here's a bit of back story: While Gates' MET research fueled interest in using student test scores as part of a teacher's evaluation, states were already headed in that direction for several other reasons. 

Back in 2009, TNTP (formerly called the New Teacher Project) published "The Widget Effect"—a seminal report finding that 99 percent of teachers were being rated as satisfactory. Many began to question the validity of these evaluation systems. At the end of that year, the federal Race to the Top program began offering states incentives to rework their evaluation systems, including by incorporating student test data. (The multiyear MET study got going at right about the same time.)

A couple years later, the federal government strengthened its push for including student achievement measures in teacher evaluations through its waiver system. In order to get relief from some of the mandates in No Child Left Behind, which was then the main federal education law, states had to commit to linking student outcomes to their teacher evaluation systems. Most states got those waivers.

As of right now, 39 states are using objective student measures (including test scores) in their teacher evaluation systems. That's up from 15 states in 2009, according to the National Council on Teacher Quality.

Read the full article on Education Week.