CEPR Faculty Director Thomas Kane discusses the minimum standard of effectiveness for teachers in the following Brookings Institution paper.
As states and districts implement new teacher evaluation systems, they will struggle to differentiate between excellent and poor instruction, as well as to define a minimum standard of effectiveness. The task is complicated by the legacy of perfunctory evaluations in K-12 education, in which more than 98 percent of teachers were given the same “satisfactory” rating.
To avoid making “effective” the new “satisfactory”, here is an alternative standard to consider: after a probationary period, a teacher is “effective” if and only if, based on the available evidence (such as from classroom observations, students surveys and student achievement gains), their predicted impact on students exceeds that of the average novice teacher. In other words, if, after a few years in the classroom, a teacher’s predicted effectiveness is below that of the average novice teacher in their grade level and subject, then he or she would fail to meet the minimum standard of effectiveness required for tenure.