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Principals Often Shy Away From Giving 'True' Teacher Evaluations

Principals are often reluctant to identify low-performing teachers on high-stakes evaluations, a new study finds.

The study analyzed how 100 principals in Florida's Miami-Dade County school district rated the same teachers in two different settings: one low-stakes and one high-stakes, during the 2011-12 school year.

The researchers, Jason Grissom of Vanderbilt University and Susanna Loeb of Stanford University, found that principals give lower ratings in low-stakes interviews with researchers than on high-stakes evaluation instruments tied to evaluations.

My colleague Liana Loewus took a long look at the study and its implication for Education Week's Teacher Beat blog.

Published in the Education and Finance Policy journal, their work explores how and why principals shy away from giving unfiltered evaluations of teachers.

Grisson and Loeb make the case that getting principals to stop inflating evaluations and "give 'truer' ratings" would allow for struggling teachers to get more accurate feedback and pave the path for those who don't improve to leave the profession. They do caution that these changes won't happen without the sort of training that allows principals to "conduct high-quality evaluations that are consistent with district goals and to have constructive feedback conversations."

Grissom, an associate professor of public policy and education, and Loeb, a professor of education, do question whether the results from their work in Miami-Dade, a large urban district, would translate to other types of districts or those using different teacher evaluation systems.

Here's a link to Grissom and Loeb's work.

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