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TQ Research & Policy Brief Focuses on Improving Instruction Through Effective Teacher Evaluation

April 9, 2008

Evaluating teachers is controversial business—and there is little research that points to which policies and practices are the most effective. What we do know is that identifying the skills that lead certain teachers to have a greater impact on student performance than others is of utmost importance. But how do we measure those skills?

A recent TQ Research & Policy Brief, Improving Instruction Through Effective Teacher Evaluation: Options for States and Districts, will equip you with the background knowledge you need to cover the controversial issues surrounding teacher evaluation. This brief provides new research findings from school districts in the Midwest, an overview of current evaluation tools and processes, and policy options for states and districts.

Questions That Reporters Should Ask When Covering This Topic

  • What teacher evaluation policies exist in the state or school district I cover? How are they being implemented and tracked?

  • What methods are being used to evaluate teachers in the region I cover? How are they judged to be effective?

  • What role do teachers unions and collective bargaining agreements play in teacher evaluation?

  • How do state education agencies support or impede the teacher evaluation policy and process at the district level?

  • What factors influence district policy regarding the evaluation of beginning teachers, veteran teachers, and even unsatisfactory teachers? What is the basis for these factors?

Expert Source

For more than a decade, Sabrina W. M. Laine, Ph.D., has contributed to the conversation about education policy with specific regard to teacher quality issues. As a chief program officer at Learning Point Associates, Dr. Laine has worked to increase the knowledge base regarding teacher supply and demand, professional development, alternative certification, recruitment and retention, and teacher turnover. As the director of the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality, she assists state education agencies and regional comprehensive centers in their efforts to strengthen the quality of teaching—especially in high-poverty, low-performing, and hard-to-staff schools.

To schedule an interview with Dr. Laine, contact Paula Corrigan-Halpern by telephone (312-288-7618) or e-mail (paula.corrigan-halpern@learningpt.org).

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