'critical thinking rubric' photo (c) 2007, Rob Loftis - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

As I’ve mentioned, I’m part of a group of teachers working with The Center For Teaching Quality that’s preparing a policy report on Teacher Working Conditions and how they relate to student learning.

I’ve previously shared some of the materials I’ve found useful in my research — see The Best Resources For Learning About The “Value-Added” Approach Towards Teacher Evaluation. You might also be interested in The Best Posts For Learning About The NEA’s New Policy Statement on “Teacher Evaluation and Accountability.” Here’s another one: The Best Articles Describing Alternatives To High-Stakes Testing.

Also: The Best Resources On The Newly-Released California Educator Excellence Task Force Report.

I thought I’d share some more resources in this new list. My hope is that not only will readers find them useful, but that you’ll be able to suggest more.  I’ll be working on a report covering this topic next week, so thanks in advance for your recommendations.

Here are my choices for The Best Resources For Learning About Effective Student & Teacher Assessments:


Today, Jay Mathews wrote a column in the Washington Post titled Intriguing alternative to rating schools by tests. He speaks very positively about the student assessment process used by the New York Performance Standards Consortium.

The term “performance-based assessment” is a term used to describe one way to evaluate student achievement (the Consortium’s process would fit into this category). This basically means that students are evaluated on work they have “constructed” as opposed to choosing from a list of pre-determined answers. This could mean a writing assessment, similar to what is done in Vermont or Kentucky, or filling-in the blanks in a cloze (there are usually multiple appropriate responses), or describing how a student would develop a science experiment. The Stanford Center For Opportunity Policy In Education has developed a brief that lays-out the case for performance-based assessment and how it might be implemented. You can also learn more about this topic here.

The Other Kind of Testing is a good column by Walt Gardner in Education Week. It’s about “performance-based assessment” for students

Monty Neill from Fair Test has had a commentary published in Ed Week titled A Better Way to Assess Students and Evaluate Schools.

Judge Students’ Performance by Their “Greatest Hits Collection,” Say Some Educators is an article by Linda Blackford.

NEA Partners With Teach Plus & Creates Online Rating System For Student Assessments

Creating Systems of Assessment for Deeper Learning is by Linda Darling-Hammond and others.

Assessing English language learners is my post at The British Council’s TeachingEnglish site.

Self-assessment through learning journals – Chrysa Papalazarou is from The British Council.

24 Assessments that don’t suck… is from Paul Bogush.

Is this really how we should test reading development in kids? is from The Washington Post.

Assessment, Choice, and the Learning Brain is from Edutopia.

Brain – Book – Buddy: A Strategy for Assessment is from The Effortful Educator.

Using Universal Design to Create Better Assessments is from Edutopia.

How to Design Better Tests, Based on the Research is from Edutopia.

Documentation Panels Are a Novel Way for Students to Demonstrate Their Learning is from Edutopia.

7 Tips for Creating Motivating Assessments is from Edutopia.


The Accomplished California Teachers (ACT) has published a report titled A Quality Teacher In Every Classroom: Creating A Teacher Evaluation System That Works For California.

Robert Marzano talks about teacher evaluation is his upcoming book, “Supervising the Art and Science of Teaching: A New Approach To Lesson Observation and Lesson Design.” In a speech to the National Association of Secondary School Principals, he made some great points (you can see the article about his speech in this PDF — scroll down to page four):

School leaders can’t use a checklist approach to observing teachers and providing feedback. Teacher observation requires a comprehensive model that acknowledges the segments that make up a lesson.


A comprehensive observation method includes teachers’ self-reflection, walkthroughs and formal observations by principals and peers…The goal…is for feedback to be part of the culture of the school.

In a recent article in Ed Week, James Stigler writes about the “lesson study” process in Japan, where teachers covering the same content meet regularly, develop their methods of student evaluation, and then meet together to examine the results. He contrasts that system of teacher accountability with those presently being suggested by Gates, Duncan, etc. He says W. Edwards Deming would call what Gates and Duncan want “the inspection method.” In reality, Deming says, “real and continuous improvement occurs only when the workers themselves study outcome variability and the processes that produce it.”

A study has just come out of Chicago which reinforces the potential effectiveness of using trained teachers to give feedback to colleagues. In the study, teachers were far more demanding than principals using the same evaluation system. It’s still too early to tell, though, about its effect on student achievement. This kind of system is apparently called Peer Assistance and Review.

The National Education Association has published a report titled “Teacher Evaluation Systems: The Window For Opportunity and Reform.”

Ed Week presents a very short summary of the framework for a “multiple measures” teacher assessment system recommended by Randi Weingarten, president of the United Federation of Teachers.

Challenges in Evaluating Special Education Teachers and English Language Learner Specialists is the title of a new report from the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality. I haven’t had time yet to carefully review it, but at first glance it looks pretty good. In fact, I think it makes some good points that are relevant to evaluation issues for any teacher.

I’ve previously written about some simple advice on how teachers can evaluate themselves in What’s A Good Way For A Teacher To Evaluate Him/Herself?

In this blog post I share what evaluation methods have been helpful to me: Evaluating Teachers In Order To Fire Them?

Here’s a very interesting article written by a former director of research from Education Testing Service. Testing can help evaluate teachers, but it’s not the sole method: Too many factors affect how students perform, and lots of good teachers work hard for minor improvements is a long headline for a short, good article.

Here’s an excerpt:

Does this mean that testing makes no contribution to teaching? Absolutely not. Test scores tell teachers which students need help and where help is needed. And they also can tell school boards which schools need a bigger budget. Or a new principal.

But in evaluating a teacher, priority should be given to expert judgment. Principals and department heads worthy of their position know which teachers care about their students and know the strengths and needs of each one, which teachers are dedicated to what they teach and have advanced knowledge in the field, and which teachers painstakingly plan their lessons.

I’m going to add a guest post I wrote for The Washington Post titled “The best kind of teacher evaluation.”

Evaluating Teacher Effectiveness: How Teacher Performance Assessments Can Measure and Improve Teaching is a new report by Linda Darling-Hammond for the Center for American Progress.

Real ways to improve ‘teacher effectiveness’ is a guest op-ed in The San Francisco Chronicle.

Evaluations That Help Teachers Learn is an article in this month’s issue of Educational Leadership. It’s by Charlotte Danielson.

Getting Teacher Assessment Right: What Policymakers Can Learn From Researchis the title of what looks like a good new report from the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Colorado. I have to admit I’ve only had a chance to skim it, but it appears to have a lot of wisdom.

Teachers: How do We Propose to Measure Student Outcomes? is a very good post by Anthony Cody at Ed Week.

Why politicians should spend time at school is another piece from Valerie Strauss’ blog.

Overconfidence in the Value of Measurement is by Walt Gardner at Education Week

The Test Generation is an article by Dana Goldstein that was just published in The American Prospect magazine.

Teacher Evaluations: Where Do We Go From Here? is a post from Learning First.

Linda Darling-Hammond on Teacher Evaluations through Student Testing appeared on the blog for NBC’s Education Nation.

5 reasons parents should oppose evaluating teachers on test scores appeared in Valerie Strauss’ Washington Post blog.

A Glut of New Reports Raise Doubts About Obama’s Teacher Agenda is by Dana Goldstein.

Helping Teachers Help Themselves is a New York Times article about teacher evaluation in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Teacher Evaluations: Don’t Begin Assembly Until You Have All The Parts is an excellent post by Matthew Di Carlo at The Shanker Blog.

How to Fix Accountability in U.S. Schools is by Justin Baeder at Ed Week.

EWA Research Brief: What Studies Say About Teacher Effectiveness comes from the Education Writers Association, and seems to have a pretty summary of research. Even though it covers a lot of areas, I decided to put in this “The Best…” list.

Letter to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Concerning Evaluation of Teachers and Principals comes from the National Education Policy Center.

Take your SGP and VAMit, Damn it! is by School Finance 101.

Linda Darling-Hammond’s Getting teacher evaluation right at The Answer Sheet may be THE piece on teacher evaluation.

Praise for peer evaluations
comes from Thoughts on Public Education.

Why Evaluate Teachers and Doctors Differently? is by Walt Gardner.

Conversations with Obama, Duncan on assessment appeared in Valerie Strauss’ blog.

Getting Serious About Teacher Evaluation is from Education Week.

Reforming the Teaching Profession: A Look at Teacher Quality Policy is a video of UC Professor Jesse Rothstein.

NEA Announces “New Action Agenda”

Taking Teacher Quality Seriously: A Collaborative Approach to Teacher Evaluation is from Rethinking Schools.

Using Standardized Tests to Evaluate Teachers is by Walt Gardner at Education Week.

Forging ahead with nutty teacher evaluation plan appeared in The Washington Post.

“Teaching Quality and California’s Future”

Opinion: Creating teacher evaluations systems Californians can believe in appeared in the San Jose Mercury News.

Getting Teacher Evaluation Right: A Background Paper for Policy Makers is by Linda Darling-Hammond and colleagues.

Interesting Interview With Charlotte Danielson

Evaluating Teacher Evaluation is by Linda Darling-Hammond and others.

“Socrates Fails Teacher Evaluation”

“Just Effective”: Is that good enough? is from Nancy Flanagan’s blog at Education Week.

“Evaluate Me, Please”

Hot Off The Press! The Best Piece Yet Published On Teacher Evaluation

Taking Teacher Quality Seriously: A collaborative approach to teacher evaluation
is by Stan Karp at Rethinking Schools.

This twelve minute video of Anthony Bryk from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is one of the best things I’ve seen about teacher evaluation. Among other points, he compares summative teacher evaluation with teacher improvement.

I learned about it from Matthew Di Carlo at The Shanker Blog, a “must-read” blog for educators.

It is (Mostly) About Improvement from EdWriters on Vimeo.

Can Teacher Evaluation Improve Teaching? is from Education Next.

What research really says on teacher evaluation is by Richard Rothstein.

How Using Test Scores To Evaluate Teachers Hurts Students

Assessing Ourselves To Death is by Matthew Di Carlo.

Sabotage as a Professional Responsibility is by Justin Baeder.

Thompson: Value-Added vs Objective Evaluations is by John Thompson.

Why Teacher Evaluation Shouldn’t Rest on Student Test Scores is from Fair Test.

A better way to grade teachers is by By Linda Darling-Hammond and Edward Haertel and appeared in the LA Times.

San Jose Unified, teachers reach breakthrough evaluation, pay plan is from Ed Source

The newest rhetoric on teacher evaluation — and why it is nonsense comes from The Washington Post.

Making Decisions About Teachers Based on Imperfect Data

Evaluating Teachers of ELLs in the Age of the CCSS is from Colorin Colorado.

The MET Project: The Wrong 45 Million Dollar Question is from ASCD Educational Leadership (thanks to Alfie Kohn for the tip).

3 Evaluation Issues We Need to Be Talking About is by Barnett Berry.

What’s Next: Evaluation As Narrative is by Barnett Berry.

Just how many ineffective teachers are out there?
is by Aaron Pallas.

Quote Of The Day: Dana Goldstein On History Of Teacher Evaluations

You Can’t Fix Teacher Eval Without Fixing Teacher Supply is by Paul Bruno.

On Teacher Evaluations, Between Myth And Fact Lies Truth is from The Shanker Blog.

Quote Of The Day: “How Do You Evaluate Teachers Who Change Lives?”

Hidden power of teacher awards is by Jay Mathews at The Washington Post.

Quote Of The Day: Using Test Scores To Evaluate Teachers

Teacher evaluation panel 2013 Education Writers Association National Seminar
is by Ray Salazar, and has some interesting thoughts on teacher evaluations. He also links to a very insightful post he previously wrote on Doug Lemov’s teaching strategies.

San Jose teachers, board adopt landmark teacher evaluation system is from Ed Source.

Evaluating The Evaluators is by Barnett Berry.

Policymakers, do your homework on evaluation reform is an important post by Barnett Berry.

Student achievement and teacher evaluations: The math doesn’t add up? is by Scott McLeod.

“Performance Anxiety”: Improving Measures for Teacher Evaluations is by Ilana Garon.

John Kuhn: Why Shouldn’t Teachers Be Graded, Too? appeared in Anthony Cody’s blog two years ago, but it’s a good one.

Changing The Language From Anti-Testing To Pro-Whole Child is by Jose Vilson.

Getting Teacher Evaluation Right is from The Shanker Blog.

Look to other ‘knowledge industries’ to get teacher evaluation right is by Barnett Berry.

Exemplary Teacher Evaluation, Part 1 is by Grant Wiggins.

Are We Learning From Evaluations? is from Education Week.

Here’s a series of exceptional posts on assessment that Marc Tucker has been writing over at Education Week.

The Failure of Test-Based Accountability

Accountability and Motivation

I’m eagerly awaiting his next post, where he says he “will describe accountability systems for education consistent with the ideas of McGregor, Drucker and Pink—systems embraced by the countries with the best education records in the world.”

Here are excerpts from his first two posts:



Testing To, and Beyond, The Common Core is by Linda Darling-Hammond is another important new article on assessment. Though I’m not thrilled with her apparent position that test results from next generation of state tests should be included in teacher evaluation (see The Problem With Including Standardized Test Results As Part Of “Multiple Measures” For Teacher Evaluation), it’s an important article to read, nevertheless.

Accountability: What the Top Performers Do

One piece of the whole (article by Linda Darling-Hammond) comes via Stanford.

Lesson Observations Are No Way To Grade Teachers is from Forbes.

Jack Schneider has written a good piece titled The High Stakes of Teacher Evaluation.

What If Teacher Evaluation Isn’t Actually Broken After All? by Paul Bruno is a really excellent post.

This Is One Of The Best Pieces I’ve Read On Teacher Evaluation: “The Problem with Outcome-Oriented Evaluations”

Teacher Evaluation: What Do We Want to Measure?
is from Ed Week.

Correcting a Harmful Misuse of Students’ Test Scores is by W. James Popham, and appeared in Ed Week.

How many bad teachers are there? is from The Hechinger Report.

On Teacher Evaluation is an interesting piece by Robert Slavin.

Cooks, Chefs, and Teachers: A Long-Form Debate on Evaluation (Part 3a) is by Ben Spielberg.

Teachers Should Be Evaluated Like Athletes: Here’s Why appeared in The Huffington Post.

Imagining Successful Schools

Rating teachers not as easy as 1, 2, 3 is from Politico.

How Would Some Experts Design K-12 Accountability From Scratch? is from Ed Week, which shared an analysis of a new paper by Linda Darling-Hammond.

‘Getting What You Pay For’ In Teacher Evaluations is a three part series on teacher evaluations I posted at Education Week Teacher.

Wow! The Evaluation Plan For New York’s Universal Pre-K Program Sounds Impressive

My New BAM! Radio Show Features An Innovative Strategy For Teacher Evaluation

How can we improve the way we assess teachers? is from The Guardian. I believe this is the report it discusses.

Teacher Team Offers New Vision of Responsibility is from Living In Dialogue.

Quote Of The Day: “Teachers to the Test”

Trouble grading teachers with test scores
is from The Washington Post.

Grading Teachers by the Test appeared in The New York Times.

Grading Teachers Is Counterproductive is by Walt Gardner at Ed Week.

How Do You Measure a Teacher’s Worth? appeared in TIME.

Teacher Evaluation: An Issue Overview is from Ed Week.

It’s Time to Move on from Using Student Growth in Evaluating Teachers is an interesting piece that appeared in a surprising source, Real Clear Education.

New Study Suggests That Teacher Observations Should Focus More On Teacher Inputs, Less On Student Outcomes

Ranking Is Not Measuring is by Peter Greene.

Stop repeating nonsense about ‘bad’ teachers. Just. Stop it. is from Icing On The Cake.

Does using high-stakes tests to fire teachers improve student outcomes? is from The Hechinger Report.

Very few teachers receive poor job ratings, and new evaluations haven’t changed that is from The Washington Post.

Building Evaluation Around Standards in San José is from Ed Week, as is Poway, Calif., Grows New Assessment System on Reform Roots.

Five Lessons for Creating Effective Teacher Evaluation is also from Ed Week.

5 key lessons from the successes (and failures) of President Obama’s teacher evaluation reforms is from The LA School Report.

We Have Student-Led Conferences. Why Not Teacher-Led Evaluations? appeared in Edutopia. I’m adding it to the same list.

Districts, unions innovate to evaluate teachers is from Ed Source.

The Formative Evaluation of Teaching Performance is by Dylan Wiliam.

Teacher Evaluation That Goes Beyond Check Boxes is by David Edelman

REASSESSING TEACHER ASSESSMENTS is a series of five articles (of mixed quality) at Ed Week.

To Find the Value a Teacher Adds, Look Beyond Test Scores is by Paul Tough.

Redefining accountability to treat teachers and leaders like the professionals they are is from Brookings. I don’t agree with everything it says, but it contains a wealth of information.

The Role of Student Test Scores in Teacher Evaluations is the headline of one of my latest Education Week Teacher columns. In it, David Berliner, Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski, Douglas Reeves, Timothy Hilton, Amanda Koonlaba, and Erin Scholes share their thoughts on the role of student test scores in teacher evaluations.

What can work in teacher evaluation: Lessons from Boys in the Boat is by Barnett Berry.

Assessing the Evidence on Teacher Evaluation Reforms is from Calder.


The Benefits of Low-Stakes Teacher Evaluation is from Harvard.

Too many teachers are still not evaluated well. Here are ways to fix that. is from The Washington Post.

Here’s an interesting series of tweets:


Q&A: Backes on New Ways of Measuring Teachers’ Impact on Student Success is from Future Ed.

What Studies Say About Teacher Effectiveness is from the Education Writers Association. It’ a few years old, but very good.

Who Should Evaluate Teachers? is from Edutopia

Designing More Equitable Ways to Evaluate Teachers is from Edutopia


Again, I look forward to your recommendations of resources to add to this list.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at the 460 other “The Best…” lists and consider subscribing to this blog for free.