Evaluating America’s Teachers
- W. James Popham - University of California, Los Angeles, USA
Leadership & Management | Staff Supervision/Evaluation/Retention
When teacher evaluations are fair, everyone wins.
Poor evaluation systems don’t just hurt teachers—they hurt students, too. That’s why America can’t afford to wait for the teacher-evaluation problem to be solved. To provide balanced, accurate, and rigorous evaluations that take into account each teacher’s particular circumstances, only one system can work: evidence-governed collegial judgment.
As states and schools scramble to find workable responses to accountability mandates, well-informed educators can make key contributions. Start here with
- A discussion of common evaluation systems, including testing, value-added models, and observations
- Analysis of federal guidelines and state responses
- Action steps teachers and school leaders can take to influence policy
- A clear rationale and strategies for implementing a teacher evaluation model based on human judgment
Evaluating America’s Teachers demonstrates that the vision is possible: effective teacher evaluations that benefit schools as a whole.
“Teachers, administrators, and policy makers rejoice! Here is a single book, from a nationally recognized scholar, that makes sense of the issues involved with the evaluation of teachers.”
—David C. Berliner, Regents’ Professor Emeritus
Arizona State University
“Once again Jim Popham has brought insight and clarity to a complex topic that only a person of his stature and expertise could provide.”
—Robert J. Marzano, CEO
Marzano Research Laboratory
“In an effective and diplomatic manner, Jim suggests concrete ways policymakers, along with local school leaders and teachers, can make sure our students are protected from summative teacher-evaluation systems that do more harm than good. No one should make policy at any level or strive to build a defensible teacher evaluation system without studying this book.”
—Rick Stiggins, Retired Executive Director
Assessment Training Institute
"Jim Popham provides a step-by-step analysis of the do's and don't's regarding evaluation, and leaves the reader with hope that, done properly, teacher evaluation can lead to better instruction. Evaluating America's Teachers is a must read for policy makers, district and school administrators, and classroom teachers grappling with reviewing and improving teacher evaluation."
"Dr. Popham makes many true and important points in this book. Particularly noteworthy is his point that tests are not validated, inferences are. A measure that may well allow valid inferences about what a student knows may not necessarily be valid in making an inference about teacher effectiveness. I believe that many of those wishing to evaluate teacher effectiveness miss this important point."
"Through his delightful wit and insightful use of vocabulary, Jim Popham has crafted a must read book for education policy makers, school administrators, and teachers. Throughout the book there are many "pearls of wisdom" that help steer the teacher evaluation discussion in states and local school districts. As a chief state school officer who is currently working on implementing a statewide teacher evaluation system that is required to meet the Race to the Top and ESEA waiver requirements, this book provided me with the right questions to ask prior to completion of our work. I believe this book will enable readers to turn the subtitle—Mission Possible?—from a question into a reality."
"In the contentious environment where there are so many competing models for evaluating teacher quality (many of which are seriously flawed), it is refreshing (and essential) that strategies are considered that examine the full range of teacher quality (not just test scores on just reading an mathematics) to achieve a fair, valid, and comprehensive look at the quality of teachers. This book does just that and should be a "must read" for policymakers, administrators, and teachers."
"Popham's gift of writing and his wealth of knowledge and experience pour out of every page in this book. It recognises the inevitable—we will evaluate teachers—and shows how it can be done properly provided we remember that it is humans weighing the various sources of evidence that make judgements and not isolated instruments (observations, tests, ratings) that make these decisions. Hence, multiple methods, growth models, a clarity between formative and summative interpretations, and an emphasis on ensuring that the methods have instructional validity. The book glistens with goodness, it is sobering but optimistic, and it is fun to read."
"Teachers, administrators, and policy makers rejoice! Here is a single book, from a nationally recognized scholar, that makes sense of the issues involved with the evaluation of teachers."
"In an effective and diplomatic manner, Popham suggests concrete ways that policy makers, along with local school leaders and teachers, can make sure our students are protected from summative teacher evaluation systems that do more harm than good. No one should make policy at any level or strive to build a defensible teacher evaluation system without studying this book."
"Jim Popham has taken on one of the most contentious issues in American education today, and he presents an objective, fact-based approach to creating new systems to evaluate teacher effectiveness that are both fair to teachers and helpful in improving instruction."
"Popham is softly critical of ineffective practice and common misperceptions but strongly proactive in his belief that this can be done—we can create teacher evaluation systems that are fair and have a positive impact on student learning. I truly feel after reading Evaluating America's Teachers: Mission Possible that this task is not only, in Popham's words a "mission possible," but it is a mission critical for America's schools."
"As America's educational policymakers wrestle with revamping teacher evaluation systems, decisions are likely to be made that will have real and significant consequences in classrooms—the stakes are high. Every school board member in the country needs a solidly-researched, clearly articulated guide to understanding what works and what could go wrong. Dr. Popham's Evaluating America's Teachers is that guide."
Sample Materials & Chapters
4 Potential Pitfalls of Teacher Evaluation Systems