Evaluating Teacher Effectiveness: The Cincinnati Model

In a recent EducationNext report, researchers examine the Teacher Evaluation System (TES) of Cincinnati to test if it is as effective as has been touted and whether it could address the “Widget Effect” cited by The New Teacher Project (2009).  Cincinnati’s TES uses classroom observations performed by trained evaluators external to the school who are required to judge teachers on an extensive set of standards.  The authors of this report sought to determine whether this system could identify teaching practices likely to raise achievement, a highly important consideration when determining teacher effectiveness.

The researchers found that teachers’ scores on the classroom observation components of TES reliably predict the achievement gains of their students in math and reading.  This supports the argument that teacher evaluations do not need to be based solely on standardized test scores in order to get useful information about teacher effectiveness.

The authors further note that other studies have found that teacher ratings by mentor teachers and principals also have the ability to determine teacher effectiveness similar to the TES ratings.  However, the TES provides other information that can be of use to researchers seeking “to connect specific teaching methods with achievement outcomes, providing evidence of effective teaching practices that can be widely shared.”

To read the entire report, visit http://educationnext.org/evaluating-teacher-effectiveness/

To read The New Teacher Project report cited above, visit http://tntp.org/publications/reports/the-widget-effect/