Bill and Melinda Gates write about the need to evaluate teacher performance in this Wall Street Journal article ‘Grading Teachers.’ According to a survey conducted by Scholastic and the Gates’ foundation, teachers are willing to be evaluated in a comprehensive way. Gates’ argue that nobody has been able to identify what makes for a great teacher. To change that, they have been working with over 3,000 teachers on a project called Measures of Effective Teaching (MET). The goal of the research is to figure out what makes teaching work and what measure may be predictive of student success. There is a saying that ‘you can’t manage what you can’t measure’, but that is exactly what’s going on. Current measures, such as an example from the article that says that 98% of school teachers are rated as “satisfactory”, are completely meaningless.
Teach for America is another organization that is researching means to quantify what makes a great teacher as was reported in the Jan/Feb 2010 issue of The Atlantic magazine.