This week's National Journal Education Experts blog asks about the big takeaways from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's MET study on effective teaching. My colleagues Lisa Guernsey, director of the Early Education Initiative, and Anne Hyslop, education policy analyst, weighed in.
Guernsey cautions that the MET report was not about the effectiveness of K-12 teachers. It was about teachers in the 4th through 8th grades. She also notes that:
The report’s information about observing teachers, however, provides good fodder for deeper conversations about improving teaching in the early grades. And in many ways it dovetails with other research, described in the New America Foundation’s report Watching Teachers Work: Using Observation Tools to Promote Effective Teaching in the Early Years and Early Grades, which urges policymakers to include objective observation-based assessment as a measure of teacher effectiveness.
Hyslop makes the point that after the release of the MET report there is still uncertainty surrounding teacher evaluations.
The MET Project doesn’t provide a definitive roadmap for states and districts looking to measure effective teaching. The report’s findings are inconclusive when it comes to:
whether student demographics should be included as a control in value-added models;
how to weight each component within a composite effectiveness measure: value-added data, student-perception surveys and classroom observations; and
who should observe teachers, how long these observations should last and how many observations should occur each year.
Read our full response here.