Policy Documents

The Hangover: Thinking About the Unintended Consequences of the Nation’s Teacher Evaluation Binge

Sara Mead, Andrew Rotherham, Rachael Brown –
September 22, 2012

The flood of new legislative activity regarding teacher evaluations responds to obvious problems with old systems, but also risks cementing premature solutions and imperfect metrics, write the three authors of this American Enterprise Institute report. The paper highlights four tensions to consider in developing new teacher evaluations: Flexibility versus control, evolving systems, goals, and evaluating teachers as professionals. It discusses these at length and makes several policy recommendations, including: Be clear about what new evaluations are intended to solve; do not mistake processes and systems as substitutes for cultural change; focus on improvement; and encourage innovation.