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This chapter argues that teacher effectiveness must be considered within a frame of multiple measures, and with consideration for the equity and access that these measures both inhibit and afford.  The chapter describes traditional measures of teaching knowledge, teaching practice, and teaching dispositions in general terms and analyzes the limitations of each.  Potential measures of the impact of teaching on student learning are also summarized.

The case for multiple measures of teacher effectiveness

NExT stands by the principle that multiple measures of teacher effectiveness are critical for capturing the many factors that are included in effective teaching and to allow for data triangulation from a variety of perspectives. Accrediting bodies, such as the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), also support using multiple measures of teacher effectiveness.

 

Multiple measures can mean multiple sources of data, such as surveys from teachers as well as observations of teachers. It can also mean multiple perspectives, such as input from school administrators, teacher educators, and test results from external sources (i.e., state licensure exams).  We believe it is also important to use these multiple measures over multiple points in time.  Teacher candidates and beginning teachers are learning to teach and thus are still developing their knowledge, skills, and dispositions.  An effective first year teacher will and should look different from an effective veteran teacher.

Proponents of using students’ academic achievement as a sole measure of teacher effectiveness miss important aspects of teaching.  Equally important are the ways teachers connect to students and are able to meet their needs academically, socially, emotionally, and culturally. Evaluating an individual teacher on a single measure provides only a limited snapshot of effectiveness.  Multiple measures, interpreted in the appropriate context, help complete the picture.

Equity and access
regarding measures of
teacher effectiveness

One factor underlying many of the measures of teaching quality and impact is the extent to which they may disadvantage people of color and non-native English speakers.  Studies suggest that teachers of color and non-native English speakers may be excluded from receiving a teaching license by the use of standardized tests (Bennett, McWhorter, & Kuykendall, 2006; Flippo, 2003; Goldhaber & Hanson, 2010) or performance assessments (Goldhaber, Cowan, & Theobald, 2017), both of which function as high stakes measures of their knowledge.