Gates Foundation bet on Teacher Evaluation Reform Falls Short

Matt Barnum, writing for Chalkbeat, has summarized the findings of a RAND report on the $575 million investment from the Gates Foundation into  teacher evaluation reform. Excerpts of the article appear below:

New research commissioned by the Gates Foundation finds scant evidence that changes [related to human capital reform for teachers] accomplished what they were meant to: improve teacher quality or boost student learning.  

The 500-plus page report by the Rand Corporation details the political and technical challenges of putting complex new systems in place and the steep cost — $575 million — of doing so.

Findings include the following:

  • The initiative did not lead to clear gains in student learning.
  • Principals were generally positive about the changes, but teachers had more complicated views.
  • The initiative didn’t help ensure that poor students of color had more access to effective teachers.
  • Evaluation was costly — both in terms of time and money.
  • Teachers tended to get high marks on the evaluation system.
  • More effective teachers weren’t more likely to stay teaching, but less effective teachers were more likely to leave.
  • After the grants ran out, districts scrapped some of the changes but kept a few others.


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