Education Next: Teacher Evaluations Found to Improve Midcareer Effectiveness

Teacher Evaluations Found to Improve Midcareer Effectiveness

When teachers in Cincinnati were evaluated rigorously, student performance on math tests improve

CAMBRIDGE, MA –A new study shows that Cincinnati’s rigorous Teacher Evaluation System (TES) has had a direct and lasting effect on midcareer teachers’ performance.  Students taught by a teacher in the years after she had been through the evaluation program scored 0.11 standard deviations higher in math, on average, than the students she taught in the years before her evaluation (as measured by end-of-year 4th through 8th grade state tests).  This difference is equivalent to about 3 – 4 months of additional instruction or a gain of about 4.5 percentile points for the average student.  The Cincinnati evaluation is a yearlong process and a teacher’s students also scored 0.05 standard deviations higher in the year their teacher was being evaluated, a difference of 1.5 – 2 months of additional instruction.

Researchers Eric S. Taylor and John H. Tyler note that to the best of their knowledge, their study is the first to test the hypothesis that practice-based teacher evaluation programs can help to improve teacher performance, in addition to their value in identifying teachers’ strengths or weaknesses.  Well-designed performance evaluation “can be an effective form of teacher professional development,” the authors observe.  Their analysis, “Can Teacher Evaluation Improve Teaching?” will appear in the Fall issue of Education Next and is available at

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