We Need to Standardize Teacher Evaluation Systems

The difference between getting a good teacher and a lousy teacher can be 10 percentile points in gain over one year, says Russ Whitehurst, director of the Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings. Of all the things that are under the control of policymakers and schools, teacher quality is at the top of the list in terms of impact on student achievement, and so there is a great interest in evaluating teacher performance. On April 26, the Brown Center Task Force on Teacher quality hosts an event to release a new report on teacher evaluations accompanied by a calculator that will assist in making comparisons between and within districts. Whitehurst says we need better ways to place teacher evaluation systems on the same scale so state and federal governments can incentivize fairly and open the door to policies that depend on having good evaluation systems in place.