Team Pennsylvania Foundation
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Research shows that high quality teachers and school leaders have positive impacts on student achievement. Developing educator evaluation systems that are fair and effective is critical to attracting and retaining the most qualified staff. The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has been working since 2010 to develop new statewide evaluation systems for teachers and principals in its public schools. Team Pennsylvania Foundation supported PDE’s efforts to inform the development of these evaluation systems by collaborating on the Pennsylvania Teacher and Principal Evaluation Pilot.
The goal of the first part of the study (conducted in 2010 and 2011) was to develop and implement on a trial basis performance measures to improve the use of classroom observations and student data in evaluating teacher and principal performance. Mathematica provided technical assistance, including conducting a review of the literature on value-added measures of teacher and principal effectiveness. We also identified potential student outcomes for the pilot analysis, designed and estimated value-added measures, and correlated those findings with observation scores from a new professional practice measure recommended by a stakeholder group associated with the pilot. Most of the data came from the statewide longitudinal student data system on students, teachers, and principals across Pennsylvania. Other data came from four school districts that participated in the first part of the study.
In the second part of the study (conducted in 2012 and 2013), PDE implemented the professional practice measure developed for teacher evaluations in a larger sample of teachers. Mathematica provided two types of technical assistance. First, we examined the teaching practices of teachers who make larger contributions to student achievement growth, by estimating value-added models and correlating the resulting estimates to teachers’ professional practice scores. The data for these analyses came from Pennsylvania’s statewide longitudinal student database and from 105 school districts that participated in the second part of the study. Second, we reviewed draft plans for developing an overall measure of teacher effectiveness and provided recommendations to PDE.
In the third part of the study (conducted in 2014 and 2015), PDE implemented the professional practice measure developed for teacher evaluations in the largest sample of teachers of any pilot phase. Mathematica provided two types of technical assistance. First, we described the variation in professional practice scores across teachers in the pilot. Second, we examined how accurately findings from the second part of the study predict which teaching practices are most strongly correlated with teachers’ contributions to student achievement growth using a broader sample of teachers. The data for these analyses came from Pennsylvania’s statewide longitudinal student database and from school districts that participated in the third part of the study.
Evidence & Insights From This Project
Measuring Teachers' Effectiveness: A Report from Phase 3 of Pennsylvania's Pilot of the Framework for Teaching
In this report we analyzed data on two measures of teacher performance—one (the Framework for Teaching, or FFT) is based largely on classroom observations, and the other (value-added measures, or VAM) is based on student test scores.Learn More