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Program 4 focuses on the issue of teacher effectiveness and how it can be measured.   Currently our country is in the midst of a hot debate about the quality of our teaching force, how much teachers are responsible for student achievement, and what’s the best way to measure their effectiveness.  The debate has very real implications as  the federal government has put the power of money into the equation.. Through Race to the Top, a $4.35 billion competitive grant program,  the federal government will give money to those states who among other requirements reform their teacher evaluation systems.  This means moving away from using seniority and tenure (another hot issue) and incorporating research based measures, adding, in particular some measure involving student achievement – another sticky point.

The Gates Foundation is currently funding a multi-year study, Measures of Teacher Effectiveness,(MET).  The study is investigating what evaluation tools  can  be used to identify effective  teachers  One of the tools that the project is looking at that is particularly controversial is a value added measure which tries to separate effective from ineffective teachers based on the improvement their students show from one year to the next on their scores on standardized tests given by each state. Other assessments  involve student questionnaires, teacher observation, and evaluations of their content knowledge.  Two of our guests are involved directly in the study.  Our third guest has published a sharp critique of the project  (2:00)

Our first guest is  Drew Gitomer, Distinguished Researcher at Educational Testing Service and a member of the Gates Foundation project team.

Our second guest is Thomas Kane,  Professor of Education and Economics at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, director of the Methods of Effective Teaching for the Gates Foundation, and author of the project’s preliminary report issued in December, 2010..

Our third guest is Jesse Rothstein, Associate Professor of Public Policy and Economics at the University of California at Berkeley. He’s also the author of a review in January, 2011 that was quite critical of the preliminary report issued the month before by the Gates Foundation’s Methods of Effective Teaching project

Program Follow-up

Drew Gitomer

For more about the National Board Certification process see the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards website.


For more about Praxis and teacher licensing see the website of the Educational Testing Service


See also the following website for more information about teacher evaluation and accompanying decisions about employment


Thomas Kane

See the full preliminary report  Learning About Teaching: Initial Findings from the Methods of Effective Teaching Project, that was issued in December, 2011.


Jesse Rothstein

See full analysis, Review of Learning About Teaching,



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