Two-thirds of states are in the process of adopting new evaluations, and many will include student achievement, along with intensive classroom observations.
In Memphis, Tenn., after a year of piloting new evaluations and a summer of training, some principals and teachers remained confused and overwhelmed. It is feedback from states like Tennessee that have led federal officials to shorten the new teacher evaluation checklist.
In addition to being time consuming and labor intensive, the new requirements are not supported by educational research, and it is unclear how the new evaluations could have the desired effect.
As the National Research Council’s Board on Testing and Assessment concluded just last year, “VAM estimates of teacher effectiveness should not be used to make operational decisions because such estimates are far too unstable to be considered fair or reliable.” Regardless, policy makers in many states are requiring implementation, and early adopters have begun to pinpoint what hasn't worked, and what teachers and principals find most useful.