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.

Here’s how they describe it:

….teachers’ effectiveness and quality can and should be evaluated, but sensible and useful evaluation depends on a balanced system where value-added models using student standardized test scores play only a limited role.

According to the NEPC research review prepared by Pennsylvania State University professor of education Patricia Hinchey, supporting and sustaining high-quality teaching depends on combining many sources of valuable information. The brief describes several different teacher evaluation methods and explains that no single method of teacher evaluation is sufficient by itself. Each has weaknesses that can be compensated for when combined with others. These methods include:

Classroom observations and evaluations by administrators

Portfolios prepared by teachers that document a range of teaching behaviors and responsibilities; and

Peer review

“Even after a decade of seeing the damage done by the No Child Left Behind Act, policymakers are still fetishizing student scores on standardized tests, using them as a crutch instead of turning to balanced, sensible solutions to teacher evaluation,” notes Kevin G. Welner, Director of NEPC. “This report offers a clear alternative, identifying a wide range of credible research documenting useful criteria for assessing teacher quality and supporting and sustaining high-quality teaching.”

I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Effective Student & Teacher Assessments.