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Learning from Leading Efforts: Profiles of New Teacher Evaluation Systems

April 17, 2012

Almost every state and school system is wrestling with how to make teacher evaluations more meaningful and more rigorous. Given the complexity and the importance of this work, it’s imperative to gather information from the front lines to inform and enrich implementation in other places. That’s the goal of two new profiles from the Aspen Institute’s Education and Society Program featuring work in Hillsborough County, Florida, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina.

Measuring Performance

As districts around the country struggle to find the most balanced and accurate metrics of teacher performance, two public school district’s approaches stand out as especially thoughtful – those of Hillsborough County and Charlotte-Mecklenburg.  Both are partner districts in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Measures of Effective Teaching project.

Hillsborough County Public Schools and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public School Districts have designed their new teacher evaluation system using multiple measures, collaborating and adapting as the district implements the changes. Their systems are predicated on continuous improvement, and both emphasize the importance of providing meaningful support for educators to develop better teaching skills.

Case Study on Hillsborough County Public Schools’ Teacher Evaluation System:

Hillsborough County Public Schools has launched a teacher evaluation system that has attracted attention from educators and policy makers across the country.  The power of Hillsborough’s evaluation system, which relies on observations of instruction and teachers’ value-added scores based on student test results, lies in their centralized, collaborative, communications-driven approach which focuses heavily on an inclusive process of tracking implementation and results and making just-in-time refinements based on feedback and their learning.

Case Study on Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Schools’ Teacher Evaluation System:

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Schools’ new evaluation system is noteworthy in its efforts to broadly engage teachers to explore a variety of measures that provide the most holistic assessment of teachers’ practice. It also illustrates how promising local efforts can inform state policy.

In addition to the Hillsborough and Charlotte case studies, Aspen has also published an interactive workbook to Improve teacher evaluation called “Means to an End: A Guide to Developing Teacher Evaluation Systems that Support Growth and Development.” The guide is organized to walk readers through a series of steps that address critical issues to consider to ensure that evaluation systems support teacher growth and development.

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