New Studies Look at Efforts to Improve Teaching Through Teacher Evaluation


Princeton, NJ (May 20, 2013) —

In the current unprecedented wave of education reform, changes are coming not only in how students are taught but also how teachers are evaluated. In response, Educational Testing Service (ETS) is hosting a forum on May 22, for educators and policymakers to discuss four new studies looking at how effective teaching is defined and evaluated.

With support from the William T. Grant, Spencer, and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations, researchers at ETS and Rutgers University have been engaged in four studies. These studies look at how to distinguish different kinds of teaching, and how the differences that are seen in performance are often related to the quality of the measurement.

Dan McCaffrey and Courtney Bell of ETS, and Drew Gitomer of Rutgers University, will discuss how these issues may affect teachers when they are evaluated on the metrics that states are using to define effective teaching. They also will discuss the challenges associated with obtaining accurate assessments of classroom interactions using observation protocols. They conclude by considering the implications of these findings for teacher evaluation systems being implemented concurrently with the Common Core State Standards.

The ETS Research Forum will be held in ETS's Washington, D.C., Office at 1800 K St. NW, Ninth Floor, on Wednesday, May 22, 2013, from 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.

"Teacher evaluations are an integral part of the reform process," says Bell, a Senior Research Scientist in ETS's Understanding Teaching Quality Center. "They are designed to change how we teach students by implementing new evaluation systems that attempt to measure the effectiveness of teachers as well as provide teachers with information to help them improve their practice. This is much more complicated and nuanced than it sounds and it must be done based upon sound data and proper evaluation techniques."

About The Presenters

Courtney Bell is a senior research scientist in ETS's Understanding Teaching Quality Center. She completed her doctorate at Michigan State University in Curriculum, Teaching, and Educational Policy, after earning her B.A. in chemistry at Dartmouth College. Bell's dissertation study, funded through a Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, won the American Educational Research Association Division L Dissertation of the Year award. A former high school science teacher and teacher educator, Bell's work looks across factors in the educational system to better understand the intersections of policy and practice.

Drew Gitomer is the Rose and Nicholas DeMarzo Chair in Education and a member of the Department of Learning and Teaching at Rutgers University. His research centers on the assessment and evaluation of teaching and related policy issues in teaching and teacher education. Currently, his work focuses on a range of constructs that are related to teaching quality, including the quality of classroom interactions, teacher knowledge, teacher beliefs and student achievement. Prior to coming to Rutgers, Gitomer was a researcher and Senior Vice President of Research at ETS where he led the Understanding Teaching Quality Center.

Daniel McCaffrey is a principal research scientist in Statistical and Psychometric Theory and Practice at ETS. McCaffrey was previously the PNC Chair in Policy Analysis at the Rand Corporation. He works closely with ETS's Understanding Teacher Quality Center on methodological issues associated with attempts to measure the quality of teaching within the context in which teaching occurs. McCaffrey is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and a senior editor of Statistics, Politics, and Policy.

About ETS

At ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary and post-secondary education, as well as conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded as a nonprofit in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the TOEFL® and TOEIC ® tests, the GRE ® test and The Praxis Series™ assessments — in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide.


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