PSEA member toolkit: Teacher Evaluation

Teacher evaluation continues to be a subject of public debate in Pennsylvania and across the United States. Pennsylvania is now using a new teacher evaluation system, with a goal of more accurately measuring teacher effectiveness.

PSEA supports strengthening Pennsylvania’s system of teacher evaluation. When assessment is a component of teacher evaluation, multiple measures of student learning must be used. These measures of student learning should include: curriculum-based assessments, teacher-created assessments, student projects and portfolios, district-based pre/post-assessments tied to academic standards, and other valid and reliable measures.

PSEA will continue efforts to make sure the new system is valid, reliable, and fair.

PSEA Resources

PDE Information

Legislation and Policy

  • PSEA Critique of Mathematica report: PDE contracted with Mathematica, Inc. to examine the relationship between teacher observation results and student test scores (value added measures or VAMs). PSEA reviewed Mathematica’s Report and found that the report makes some important points concerning the use of VAMs in teacher evaluation. However, the report does not go far enough to underscore real weaknesses and limitations of VAMs. Some limitations of VAMs impact the validity and reliability of the Commonwealth’s emerging evaluation system for teachers.           

Current Research on Teacher Evaluation

  • Why Teacher Evaluation Shouldn't Rest on Student Test Scores ( 
    To win federal Race to the Top grants or waivers from No Child Left Behind, most states have adopted teacher and principal evaluation systems based largely on student test scores. Many educators have resisted these unproven policies. Researchers from Massachusetts and Chicago-area universities and more than 1,500 New York state principals signed statements against such practices. Chicago teachers even struck over this issue, among others. Here's why these systems-- including “value added” (VAM) or “growth” measures -- are not effective or fair.
  • Creating a Comprehensive System for Evaluating and Supporting Effective Teaching (Stanford University, 2012)
    Linda Darling Hammond's report defines five key elements of a coherent, research-based system to improve teacher effectiveness.
  • Summary: An Examination of Performance-Based Teacher Evaluation Systems in Five States
    Shakman, K., Riordan, J., Sanchez, M.T., DeMeo Cook, K., Fournier, R., and Brett, J. (2012). An Examination of Performance-Based Teacher Evaluation Systems in Five States (Issues & Answers Report, REL 2012-No. 129). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional Education Laboratory Northeast and Islands.
  • Summary: Alternative Measures of Teacher Performance
    National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality. 2011. Alternative Measures of Teacher Performance. Washington, DC: National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality. 

    Additional materials
    Go to for more current research on evaluation.







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