January 14, 2013
Gates Findings Support NIET's TAP System for Evaluation and Support of Teachers
NIET Statement on Gates Foundation Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) Study
On January 8, the Gates Foundation released the final findings from a three-year study of teacher performance and evaluation. We are pleased that the nine guiding principles to policymakers and practitioners (PDF) designing effective evaluation systems affirm what we have learned from implementing TAP over the past decade in schools across the country:
- Set Expectations.
The TAP Teaching Standards differentiate levels of teaching across 19 indicators of practice. This level of detail provides teachers and evaluators with a common language to describe and discuss teaching practice.
- Use Multiple Measures.
TAP combines multiple teacher observations with student achievement growth measured both at the classroom level, where available, and schoolwide. Additionally, all TAP teachers receive feedback from an annual responsibility survey.
- Balance Weights.
Student achievement growth is a significant factor in overall TAP teacher and principal evaluations. This is balanced with other measures such as classroom observations by multiple trained and certified observers over the course of the school year, ensuring that different measures of performance are balanced in overall evaluations.
- Monitor Validity.
TAP allows teachers and administrators to compare their observation scores with summative student achievement gains on an annual basis to monitor the validity of various measures of performance. TAP also provides teachers with many opportunities to compare their observation scores with formative student growth measures during the course of the year.
- Ensure Reliability.
TAP calls for four to six observations of full lessons for each teacher every year. Observations must be done by at least three different observers who are trained and certified annually. Data systems track reliability of evaluation results in multiple ways.
- Assure Accuracy.
TAP requires that any evaluator be trained and certified before evaluating a teacher. To become certified, evaluators must observe a full lesson and score it on all 19 indicators. Their scores must come within one point of the overall score of expert national raters. In addition, evaluators must be recertified annually. The TAP System Training Portal, complete with a video library of nationally rated lessons, training modules, evaluator certification/re-certification, and the TAP CODE educator evaluation data systemamong other toolshelp to ensure TAP's validity, reliability and accuracy.
- Make Meaningful Distinctions.
TAP's evaluation system produces much more valid performance ratings than do traditional teacher evaluations. TAP's observational measure of classroom instruction represents a true distribution of teacher performance even before value-added student learning gains are calculated.
Inflated Teacher Evaluations in Traditional Systems
Observational Ratings in TAP Schools Differentiate among Levels of Performance
- Prioritize Support and Feedback.
TAP's dual goals are to accurately measure performance and support improvements in practice. Support is provided by master and mentor teachers through weekly group professional development sessions as well as individual one-on-one coaching in and outside of the classroom.
- Use Data for Decisions at All Levels.
TAP enables schools to use teacher and student data to make decisions at all levels. These data are used to select, train and monitor effective teacher leaders who are evaluators and providers of professional support in their schools. Data are used to provide classroom teachers with specific support for improvement. Data are also used to drive a coherent professional growth and development plan at the school and district levels. Data are used to ensure that high-need schools and students in the district have equitable access to effective and highly effective teachers.
The experiences of TAP schools across the country confirm what the Gates MET study foundgood evaluation tools and quality implementation can significantly improve teacher evaluation both in terms of more accurately assessing performance and providing detailed feedback for improvement. For more information on the TAP System's evaluation and support, see More Than Measurement: The TAP System's Lessons Learned for Designing Better Teacher Evaluation Systems (PDF).
Erik Hanushek, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
"The evaluation of TAP schools clearly shows that teachers in the program are significantly better than the average teacher in regular public schools. More TAP teachers are above average in terms of student achievement gains. Fewer are far below. This finding is very notable given the importance of teachers to student achievement."