Evaluation of Educators and Educator Preparation Programs: Models and Systems in Theory and Practice

WCER Working Paper No. 2014-06

Robert Meyer, Mikhail Pyatigorsky, and Andrew Rice

November 2014, 19 pp.

ABSTRACT: Student growth measures are increasingly common in K-12 school and teacher accountability policy in the United States. At this time, it is still rare for educator preparation programs (EPPs) to be evaluated by similar measures for either low stakes program improvement or higher stakes accreditation processes. Growth in student achievement reflects the contributions of multiple people and multiple entities, including EPPs, via their roles in selecting educators into the profession and providing candidates with education and training. This paper presents a partial list of technical considerations that researchers, policy makers, and, ultimately, EPPs must address when trying to measure or manage performance. We identify two categories of considerations: those that affect the calculation of teacher value added, and those that affect the aggregation of teacher estimates to the EPP level. Consistent with the current literature, we distinguish the effects of preparation programs on teacher performance from the effects of selection into programs and into districts/schools. One of the most perplexing conclusions of several recent papers is the lack of correlation between teachers’ training institution and on-the-job performance. We demonstrate how this result can be generated through a teacher-school matching process under certain labor market conditions.

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keywords: value added models, educator preparation programs, teacher training, teacher labor market, job matching