A proposed change to the state’s teacher evaluation regulations would substantially weaken them and make it harder to achieve the critical goal of ensuring every student in the Commonwealth is taught by a highly effective teacher every year.

In written comments, MBAE urged the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to reject the proposed amendments.  Research consistently shows that teacher quality is the most important school-related factor that influences student achievement.[1]  Studies have found:

  • “The estimated difference in annual achievement growth between having a good and having a bad teacher can be more than one grade-level equivalent in test performance.”[2]
  • “Having a high-quality teacher throughout elementary school can substantially offset or even eliminate the disadvantage of a low socio-economic background.”[3]
  • Top 20% U.S. teachers produce learning gains for their students that are three times those of the bottom 20% of teachers.[4]

Teacher evaluation alone cannot ensure excellent teaching, but a well-designed and properly implemented evaluation system that includes constructive feedback is a critical tool that can improve teacher effectiveness.

MBAE and the business leaders we represent believe that high quality teaching should be a critical area of focus in education.  In a recent survey of Massachusetts employers, two-thirds of respondents said the business community should put “a great deal” of focus on making sure schools have good teachers. 82% said schools should use “performance, rather than seniority” for personnel decisions.

As the representative of the business community on the 2011 Task Force on Evaluation of Teachers and Administrators, MBAE made it clear that we can only support regulations that establish a meaningful, results-oriented evaluation system that will guide instructional improvement and inform personnel decisions. We urged the Board at that time to reject any provisions that are weak, vague or impossible to implement and ask them now to do the same today.

 

[1] Rice, J.K. (2003) Teacher Quality: Understanding the Effectiveness of Teacher Attributes.

[2] Rivkin, S., Hanushek, E. and Kain, J. (2002) Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement, University of Texas-Dallas Texas Schools Project.

[3] The Center for Public Education, (2005) Teacher quality and student achievement: Research review.

[4] Sanders, W.L. & Rivers, J.C. (1996) Cumulative and Residual Effects of Teachers on Future Student Academic Achievement.

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