Research | Leadership Matters


For the Press Release: Measures of Effective Teaching Project Releases Final Research Report

Ensuring Fair and Reliable Measures of Effective Teaching: Culminating Findings from the MET Project’s Three-Year Study

“In January 2013, the MET project released its third and final set of findings, which sought to answer three questions from practitioners and policy-makers: Can measures of effective teaching identify teachers who better help students learn?; How much weight should be placed on each measure of effective teaching when combining classroom observations, student surveys, and student achievement gains?; And how can teachers be assured trustworthy results from classroom observations?

Along with a brief summarizing all of the findings, and the three research papers detailing the technical methods, in January 2013 the MET project a released set principles for effective evaluation systems based on lessons learned over the three years of the study.”

More recommendations and helpful information: To read the results and conclusions of a three year study of whether or not effective teaching can be identified reliably, and measure the effects on student learning click here for the MET Project website sharing all the available reports and recommendations from the MET Project.


Measures of Effective Teaching Project

The MET project is a partnership between 3,000 teacher volunteers and dozens of independent research teams. The project aims to help teachers and schools understand what great teaching looks like. Launched in 2009, the study will identify multiple measures and tools that – taken together – can provide an accurate and reliable picture of teaching effectiveness. By understanding what great teachers do and by improving the ways teachers gain insight into their practice, we can help more teachers achieve success for their students.

Research shows that a teachers’ contribution matters more than anything else within a school. More than class size. More than school funding. More than technology. For decades, most initiatives to improve public education have focused on improving poor performing schools. But studies show that there are bigger differences in teaching quality within schools than there are between schools. This means that in the same school, a child taught by a less effective teacher can receive an education of vastly different quality than a student just down the hall who is taught by a more effective teacher. And the way evaluations are currently conducted don’t provide the teacher who is struggling with a roadmap to improve.

Because teaching is complex, no single measure can capture the complete picture of a teacher’s impact; yet many evaluation systems use tools that provide teachers with very limited, occasional feedback. Multiple measures are needed to help school leaders understand how teaching contributes to student success, because as teachers know, there are no silver bullets in the classroom. Armed with this information, teachers and school leaders can create better professional development programs that promote proven techniques and practices that help students learn, and can make better-informed hiring and tenure decisions.

Download the preliminary findings here.



Rethinking Teacher Evaluation in Chicago: Lessons Learned from Classroom Observations, Principal-Teacher Conferences, and District Implementation, Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute, November 2011

This report summarizes findings from a two-year study of Chicago’s Excellence in Teaching Pilot, which was designed to drive instructional improvement by providing teachers with evidence-based feedback on their strengths and weaknesses. The pilot consisted of training and support for principals and teachers, principal observations of teaching practice conducted twice a year using the Charlotte Danielson Framework for Teaching, and conferences between the principal and the teacher to discuss evaluation results and teaching practice. Download the report.

“The Effect of Evaluation on Performance: Evidence from Longitudinal Student Achievement Data of Mid-career Teachers” Taylor, Eric, Tyler, John H. : NBER Working Paper No. 16877.

This study investigated the effect of teacher evaluation on the quality of instruction, and found that the very act of going through a year-long evaluation process in Cincinnati strengthens teacher performance. While the research and statistical details are still at a preliminary stage, the results suggest that the correlations are positive, and the effect sizes are large enough to be quite consequential. Furthermore, they found that not only does a teacher’s effectiveness increase in the year in which they are undergoing evaluation, but the effects of going through the evaluation cycle are even larger in the years after the evaluation.



“Identifying Effective Classroom Practices Using Student Achievement Data” Kane, et. al.

This paper combines information from classroom-based observations and measures of teachers’ ability to improve student achievement as a step toward addressing these challenges. Classroom based measures of teaching effectiveness are related in substantial ways to student achievement growth. Results point to the promise of teacher evaluation systems that would use information from both classroom observations and student test scores to identify effective teachers. Results also offer information on the types of practices that are most effective at raising achievement. Read more



“Multi-year study of Excellence in Teaching Project in Chicago Public Schools” Sartain, et. al.

Resarch on the implementation of the Framework as a reliable measure of teaching practice (Year 1) and the validity of the framework, i.e. it measures what it claims to measure (Year 2), as well as each year understanding the principal and teacher perceptions of the pilot evaluation at the school level. The findings from Year 1 include that 1) principals and trained teacher and research experts use the rating scale consistently overall; 2) more teachers were identified as low-performing under the new evaluation system; 3) principals found four areas of instruction to be particularly challenging to evaluate; 4) principals had no trouble identifying unsatisfactory teaching practices; and 5) just over half of the principals were highly enthusiastic about the evaluation process.



Multi-year, mixed-methods study investigating the validity of teacher evaluation in four sites: Cincinnati, Ohio; Los Angeles, California; Reno/Sparks, Nevada; and Coventry, Rhode Island. Heneman, et. al.

The study used linked student and teacher data to assess the relationship between student achievement and teachers’ performance evaluation scores. The value-added model used achievement scores that were estimated on prior achievement and other student characteristics which determined a fairly high correlation in two of the four sites between what the teachers were observed to be doing in the classroom and their students’ achievement gains. The authors of study noted that high correlations could be due to using multiple observation data, highly trained evaluators, and the teachers having a shared understanding of what constituted good teaching.



“Correlation Study between teachers’ scores on Domains 1 (Planning and Preparation) and Domain 3 (Instruction) and student achievement” Borman & Kimball

The authors found that teacher quality as determined by standards-based evaluation contributed slightly to student achievement.



“In-depth, mixed-methods study of one Los Angeles elementary charter school serving approximately 1, 200 students.” Gallagher

The author found that there were significant differences in student achievement relative to teachers’ evaluation scores. In particular, literacy and composite evaluation scores were significantly related to student achievement, whereas mathematics and language arts scores were not. Alignment and consistency in the pedagogical approach were factors in the correlation between literacy evaluation scores and student achievement. Interestingly, Gallagher also correlated teacher certification and experience data with student achievement and found no relationship with student test scores.

“Correlation study examined the relationship between teacher evaluation scores and student achievement in nine grade-test combinations in Washoe County” Kimball, et. al.

This research targeted specifically on 1a: Pedagogical and content knowledge, 1e: Coherent lesson design and 1f: Designing/Aligning Student Assessment, 3c: Engaging student learners, and 3e: Flexibility and Responsiveness. The authors found teacher practices, as measured by the evaluation instrument, contributed slightly to student achievement. The authors concluded that evaluation scores were stronger predictors of student achievement than were teacher education and experience.

“Correlation study of the relationship between teacher evaluation scores and student achievement in a large Midwestern district using value-added measures with 212 teachers in grades 3-8″ Milanowski

Small to moderate correlations were determined between teacher evaluation scores and student growth with 0.27 in science, 0.32 in reading, and 0.43 in mathematics.



“Correlation study to compare student achievement with teachers’ evaluation scores for 246 Cincinnati Public School teachers” Holtzapple

The study using a value-added model of predicted achievement versus actual achievement found that teachers who received low ratings on the instructional domain of the teacher evaluation had students with lower achievement scores than would have been predicted by prior achievement. Teachers with “advanced” or “distinguished” rankings generally had students with higher than expected test scores, whereas teachers rated “proficient” had students with average gains.


Note: The above research and links are provided by