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Gates Foundation: Test scores not enough for teacher evaluation

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The most reliable systems for measuring teacher effectiveness include a balanced mix of evaluation methods, researchers said—including student test scores, lesson observation, and student surveys.

After three years of research on measuring teacher effectiveness, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced Jan. 8 that it takes multiple measures to most accurately evaluate teachers.

The Seattle foundation concluded in its final report on its Measures of Effective Teaching research that test scores or principal evaluations are not enough on their own. The findings mirror what teachers unions have been saying.

Through incentives grants (such as Race to the Top) and waivers to No Child Left Behind rules, the federal government has been pushing states to update their teacher evaluation systems because it felt existing systems were inadequate.

At the same time, the Gates Foundation was studying these issues, saying it wanted to add to the discussion. Most states and big city districts have adopted some elements of the recommendations.

(Next page: What the research says)

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