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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 received timely and constructive feedback on teacher and principal performance. The components were implemented by the study's implementation team in a subset of schools in a sample of districts that did 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?
  • 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. In treatment schools, each year, teachers received four rounds of classroom observations and feedback sessions, based on the Framework for Teaching or the CLASS, depending on district preference. Teachers also received value-added scores in math and/or reading, when possible. Principals in study schools received feedback on their performance based on the VAL-ED, which was administered twice per study year. 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. The study also collected student achievement data from district records for 2012–2013 and 2013–2014 and conducted classroom observations in 2013–2014. 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. The study will also look at the characteristics of the observation measures, VAL-ED ratings, and value-added scores, including the extent to which the measures differentiate performance.

Cost/Duration: $21,523,477 over 6 years (September 2011–September 2017)

Current Status: A report on the study's first year of implementation is expected by Fall 2016. Analysis and report writing is underway for a report on the study's second year of implementation and impacts on educator practices and student achievement. The reports will be announced on