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Three New Takes on Teacher Evaluation

It's getting hard to keep track of all the announcements I get on teacher-evaluation systems. Here's a rundown of three of the latest briefs of this complex topic to cross my path.

The Education Trust's recently released paper emphasizes the importance of evaluations for improving teacher practice. The paper is also supportive of using value-added measures, but notes that all systems should have more than one way of gauging the impact of individual teachers on their students' progress.

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards has a new guide for those implementing the systems, outlining the key areas for discussion all the way from identifying who should be consulted in the development of the systems through applying standards consistently. The report's formal launch will come during a webcast on Oct. 3. Among other things of note, the report outlines five areas that should be measured based on the NPBTS' core propositions for its own advanced-credential scoring system.

Finally, the Forum on Educational Accountability, a group with ties to standardized-test critic FairTest, has a short brief on teacher evaluations aimed at Congress. Its major message: Don't use test scores in any way, shape, or form! The group also opposes making federal teacher-quality funds contingent on the establishment of such systems. And even for a competitive-grant program, it says the feds shouldn't specify how heavily student achievement should be weighted in the systems.

Your take, readers?

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