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The Most Important Part of Teacher-Evaluation Reform

Writing in The Hechinger Report, California math teacher Kyle Hunsberger reminds school leaders and policymakers that revamped teacher-evaluation systems—especially those relying heavily on student test scores—will only be as effective as the infrastructural supports that gird them:

As a teacher, I need to know that my potential "value-added" metric is reliable, but I also need to know that my administrator will sit down and go over my scores with me, offering concrete suggestions on how I can improve. He might identify colleagues I could observe and from whom I could learn successful practices. He might even notice patterns and tailor professional development to his staff to better address groups of students we are not successfully reaching.

The point of evaluation reform, Hunsberger emphasizes, should be "to help teachers get better"—not to create a "house-of-cards" accountability framework that encourages shortcuts and demoralizes the profession. But he has his doubts about which way things are headed.

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