Mathematica has just come out with an interesting study (thanks to Paul Bruno, a must-follow on Twitter, for the tip).

It’s titled Teacher and Teaching Effects on Students’ Academic Behaviors and Mindsets, and here’s the “money quote” from their summary:


In that regard, its conclusions are very similar to those of another study that came out three years ago (see More Evidence Showing The Dangers Of Using High-Stakes Testing For Teacher Evaluation).

Both studies seem to make the point that policy-makers might be missing the boat by evaluating teachers primarily on student test scores.

Ya’ think?

Mathematica seems to suggest that the answer is to add this element to teacher evaluation. Many other researcher say that measures for these kinds of non-cognitive skills are nowhere near ready for prime-time (see Measurement Matters….Maybe Not So Much), even though the new reauthorization bill for No Child Left Behind seems to encourage its use (see New ESEA May Use Noncognitive Traits in Accountability. Is That a Good Idea?).

Interestingly, though, Mathematica also seems to suggest that – for non-cognitive skills, at least – one option should be to measure teachers on if they are applying classroom practices that are likely to promote SEL skills — not on if students are evaluated as having actually gained them. This connects to articles and ideas I’ve shared, particularly from Ben Spielberg and our former principal, Ted Appel, about the idea of focusing on, and measuring, “inputs” and not outcomes.

You can read more about that idea in these previous posts:

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

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

“Using Teacher Evaluations ‘To Promote Growth’”

Did The Obama Administration Signal A Major Shift In Teacher Evaluation Policies Today?

I’m adding this post to The Best Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources.