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Study: Test Scores Help ID Good Teachers

Samantha Oltman | January 9, 2013



Source: Gates Foundation

A study released Tuesday by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation showed that the controversial method of measuring teachers’ effectiveness with students’ test scores can be useful, but only when balanced with other factors, such as student feedback and classroom observation.

Teachers unions, including UTLA, have long insisted that grading teachers based on their student test results creates a flawed, inaccurate picture of teacher effectiveness. The Gates survey contradicts that idea—though it did find that giving test scores too much weight in teach evaluations can skew results. The study said the best balance for test scores was 33 to 50 percent of teacher assessments, depending on the balance of other measurements. Giving scores less than 33 percent of weight in assessments made them ineffective, according to the study.

The study results could influence the the final decision on how much weight to give test scores in LAUSD teacher assessments, which has not yet been determined in the tentative evaluations agreement between the district and teachers union.

To read the full Gates study, which surveyed 3,000 teachers in seven districts over three years, click here. To read the full LA Times story, click here.

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