Measuring the Impact of Teacher and Leader Evaluation Systems on Student Learning and Performance

Educator performance evaluation systems are a potential tool for improving student achievement by increasing the effectiveness of the educator workforce. For example, recent research suggests that giving more frequent, specific feedback on classroom practice may lead to improvements in teacher performance and student achievement.

Read the March 2021 article published in the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness (or view the summary).  

Read the March 2023 article published in Kappan Magazine.

This study from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences was conducted by an AIR research team that examined the implementation of teacher and principal performance measures  highlighted by recent research, as well as the impact of providing feedback based on these measures. As part of the study, eight districts were provided resources and support to implement the following three performance measures in a selected sample of schools in 2012–13 and 2013–14:

  • Classroom practice: A measure of teacher classroom practice with subsequent feedback sessions conducted four times per year based on a classroom observation rubric.
  • Student growth: A measure of teacher contributions to student achievement growth (i.e., value-added scores) provided to teachers and their principals once per year.
  • Principal leadership: A measure of principal leadership with subsequent feedback sessions conducted twice per year.

Early Implementation Findings From a Study of Teacher and Principal Performance Measurement and Feedback: Year 1 Report (PDF)

Key findings from the first year included:

  • Educator performance measures were implemented generally as planned, except that fewer than the intended number of educators accessed the student growth reports.
  • Both classroom observation and student growth measures differentiated teacher performance, but observation scores were skewed toward the upper end of the scale.
  • The principal leadership measure differentiated performance, but there was limited consistency in scores across survey respondent groups.
  • Both teachers and principals in schools selected to implement the intervention reported receiving more feedback than those in schools in the same districts selected to continue with business-as-usual.

The Impact of Providing Performance Feedback to Teachers and Principals (PDF)

Second year/final report findings included:

  • The study’s measures were generally implemented as planned.
  • The study’s measures provided some information to identify educators who needed support, but provided limited information to indicate the areas of practice educators most needed to improve.
  • As intended, teachers and principals in treatment schools received more frequent feedback with ratings than teachers and principals in control schools.
  • The intervention had some positive impacts on teachers’ classroom practice, principal leadership, and student achievement.