Strengthening teacher and principal performance: New guide offers best practices

Improving educator effectiveness is a large component of every current, major state and federal education initiative. In fact, the Education Commission of the States reports that 19 states have revamped their teacher evaluation systems in the past year–and many others are currently debating changes. These changes are also the result of federal programs, such as Race to the Top, the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and the Teacher Incentive Fund grants.

To assist states and school districts as they undertake the critical task of developing and launching educator effectiveness systems, Pearson today released a new guide, “Evaluating Teachers and Principals: Developing Fair, Valid, and Reliable Systems.” The guide aims to help policymakers, state board members, school district leaders, and other stakeholders as they design educator effectiveness systems that are fair, valid, and legally defensible.

Pearson’s guide walks education leaders through numerous steps necessary to engage stakeholders and build a strong policy framework for educator effectiveness systems. Steps include:

  • Defining the construct for what constitutes an effective educator
  • Deploying multiple indicators to reveal evidence that characterizes good teaching and school leadership
  • Building strong data analysis and reporting tools to reveal useful information about students, educators, and schools, including how they perform and how they can continually improve through targeted feedback and ongoing professional development

Developing fair and valid educator effectiveness systems is a focus of Pearson’s research and development agenda, which builds on years of experience working with states and national organizations, such as the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) to develop, deliver and score pre- and in-service educator assessments, teacher and leader rubrics, and evaluator training protocols.

“As states and school districts transition to new educator effectiveness systems, Pearson stands ready to share our technical expertise and to help policymakers and practitioners learn from each other,” said Kelly Burling, Ph.D., Director of Pearson’s Center for Educator Effectiveness. “We’re working with research and business partners to create resources such as this guide, as well as additional research papers on timely topics, a publicly accessible web portal, regional workshops, and webinars, to give states and districts the resources they need to establish quality evaluation systems.”

Pearson invites education leaders to share their insights on the content of the guide as well as perspectives on the components of a successful educator effectiveness system at