Key Questions

1. What are the characteristics of principal ratings of teaching practice? Do evaluators rate the same lesson in the same way? Do principals rate teaching practice consistently across schools? Are the classroom observation ratings valid measures of teaching practice? Is there a relationship between ratings and student learning outcomes?

2. What are principal and teacher perceptions of the evaluation tool and conferences?  Do participants find the system to be useful? To be fair?  What is the perceived impact on teacher practice?

3. What factors facilitated or impeded implementation of the teacher evaluation system?


Teacher evaluation is arguably the hottest issue in education right now.  Because of Race to the Top, many states and districts around the country are designing and implementing new teacher evaluation systems that--for the first time ever--evaluate teachers based on how much their students learn. However, there is limited research on how to build an evaluation system centered on classroom observations that can distinguish between effective and ineffective teaching.

This report from the UChicago Consortium focuses on Chicago, but the lessons learned have significant applicability to districts across the country. The report is one of the first to provide research-based evidence showing that new teacher observation tools, when accompanied by thoughtful evaluation systems and professional development, can effectively measure teacher effectiveness and provide teachers with feedback on the factors that matter for improving student learning.