Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Principals are less likely to use value-added measures for talent management decisions

This report describes how principals and central/home office staff in eight school systems across the country perceive the use of teacher effectiveness data for talent management decisions.

Observation systems drive principals’ use of teacher effectiveness data. 

Principals have access to a variety of teacher effectiveness measures] but they rely most heavily on teacher observation data to make talent management decisions. They generally believe rubric-based observations generate the most valid data, providing specific, transparent, actionable information that enables them to pinpoint teacher support. Many see observation data as providing a bigger picture of the teacher’s performance than value-added estimates. In turn, they use observation data to inform teacher feedback, individualized and large group professional development, and teacher remediation plans that also serve as the documentation for dismissal cases. School leaders applaud observation rubrics because they provide a clear, consistent definition of high-quality instruction.

Value-added measures are perceived as having many shortcomings. 

Principals are less likely to use value-added measures for talent management decisions, despite the availability of these data. They describe several challenges with the use of value-added measures: scores are not available in real time when decisions are made; scores do not exist for untested subjects; and students often are taught by multiple teachers, so it is difficult to attribute a value-added estimate to a particular teacher. Principals perceive that scores do not measure what teachers actually do to have an impact on students’ learning and that the measures are not fine-grained and actionable. Similarly, lack of understanding about complicated statistical models negates comfort with the results and their interpretation. 

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