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National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance

Evaluation Studies of the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance

Impact Evaluation of Teacher and Leader Performance Evaluation Systems

Contractor: American Institutes for Research, Instructional Research Group, University of Virginia, Teachstone, Discovery Education Association, Teachscape, The Danielson Group

Background/Research Questions:

Through the Race to the Top and Teacher Incentive Fund grant programs, as well the Elementary and Secondary Education Act flexibility waivers, ED has emphasized the policy of evaluating educator effectiveness and providing educators useful and timely feedback needed to improve practice and, ultimately, student achievement. The current study is an intervention study designed to examine the implementation and impacts of a package of performance evaluation system components that include features that are currently promoted in policy discussions. The evaluation system components include measures of student achievement growth, classroom observations and measures of principal leadership. Based on these measures, teachers, leaders and districts will receive timely and constructive feedback on teacher and principal performance. The components are being implemented by the study's implementation team in a subset of schools in a sample of districts that do not already have an evaluation system similar to that being studied.

The study will address the following key research questions:

  • What is the impact of the performance evaluation system on student achievement? On teachers' classroom practices? On teacher mobility? On the nature and extent of professional development activities pursued by teachers and principals?
  • What are districts' and educators' experiences with implementation?


Eight districts are participating in the study. Within each district, a subset of approximately 15 schools were randomly assigned to receive the study's treatment during 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 or to participate only in the district's usual performance evaluation system during the same time period. Data were collected on teacher and principal professional development experiences during 2012-2013 and 2013-2014, as well as their perceptions of the usefulness of performance feedback received. Data were also being collected from districts regarding their uses of the principal and teacher performance information received. The study will collect student achievement data from district records for 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 and conducted classroom observations in 2013-2014. Teacher and principal mobility and retention will be measured through Fall 2014. Implementation data collected include measures such as the frequency with which teachers were observed and received feedback, and the percentage of teachers who participated in a 360-degree assessment that is part of the principal performance evaluation system, in each of the two implementation years.

Cost/Duration: $20,414,356 over 5 years (September 2011 – September 2016)

Current Status: A report on the study's first year of implementation is expected in Fall 2015 and will be announced on