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July 2011

Grants, Training & Conferences

Effective Practices Conferences

Effective Practices Conferences logoNCES hosts several annual Effective Practices Conferences, including the Management Information Systems Conferences, the STATS-DC Conferences, and the SLDS P-20 Best Practices Conferences. These conferences provide venues for state and district staff to share effective practices and lessons learned, and engage with colleagues from across state lines as well as representatives from the federal government and national non-profit organizations.

Please periodically visit the conference website for news about next year's MIS and STATS-DC conferences. The Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems Grant Program (SLDS) will sponsor the 2011 SLDS P-20 Best Practices Conference in Washington, DC, on November 14–16. Registration information is coming soon and will be available at

Last year, more than 150 representatives from 49 states and the District of Columbia participated in the SLDS conference, which served as a forum for dialog, collaboration, and the sharing of best practices Presentations from the 2010 Best Practices Conference are available at The SLDS best practices brief features tips from the states on communicating with stakeholders.

Education Leaders Participate in First National Conference at IES-Funded National Center for Teacher Effectiveness (NCTE)


As part of a 5-year grant from the Institute of Education Sciences, the National Center for Teacher Effectiveness, under the direction of Thomas Kane and Heather Hill of Harvard University, is working to identify practices and characteristics that distinguish between more and less effective teachers and will use this information to develop a suite of empirically validated and practical instruments that can be used by school districts to select, deploy, and retain more effective teachers.

Putting the Pieces Together: Taking Improved Teacher Evaluation to Scale was the theme of the National Center for Teacher Effectiveness first national conference of researchers and practitioners interested in teacher evaluation and teacher effectiveness. Conference goals were to share what can be learned from using different classroom observation tools and how districts and states that use observation techniques can learn from research in this topic area. Education leaders from 11 states and 30 districts gathered at Harvard University to attend the conference, which was designed to help states and districts learn about:

Conference highlights. During one session, four widely used classroom observation scales were described and discussed in terms of their potential for use in teacher evaluations: Framework for Teaching, Protocol for Language Arts Teaching Observation, Classroom Assessment Scoring System, and Mathematical Quality of Instruction. Three school districts—District of Columbia Public Schools, Cincinnati (Ohio) Public Schools, and Hillsboro County (FL) Public Schools—presented on lessons learned about scaling-up teacher evaluation systems. In other sessions, presenters described the complexities and technical difficulties of scoring classroom observations, problems of linking student and teacher data, how to develop fair and reliable measures of effective teaching, and the use of student surveys to rate teacher performance. Materials from the conference are available online, including the conference agenda, presentations, resource material, slides, and videos of the main sessions.

For more information on the center, please click here.