Measures of Student Growth: District of
Columbia

2019 Teacher and Principal Evaluation Policy

Goal

The state should require objective measures of student growth to be included in a teacher's evaluation score.

Does not meet
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2019). Measures of Student Growth: District of Columbia results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/DC-Measures-of-Student-Growth-95

Analysis of District of Columbia's policies

Impact of student growth: The District of Columbia no longer requires that objective evidence of student growth be a "significant" criterion of its teacher evaluations. Only LEAs receiving Race to the Top funding must incorporate student learning as a component of every teacher's evaluation.

State's role in evaluation system: The District of Columbia provides criteria and approves district-designed evaluation systems.

Citation

Recommendations for District of Columbia

Require objective measures of student growth to be included in teacher evaluation.
The District of Columbia should require that objective measures of student growth be included in a teacher's evaluation rating, and that such measures play a profound role in a teacher's overall evaluation rating.

State response to our analysis

The District of Columbia noted that although it does not require that objective evidence of student growth be a criterion of its teacher evaluations, it does recommend that objective evidence of student learning be a "significant" criterion of its teacher evaluations, that teachers meet student growth goals, and that to be to be rated overall effective, teachers should be rated at least effective for the student growth portion. The District of Columbia added that the IMPACT system, the teacher and school leader evaluation and feedback policy implemented by District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), requires teachers to set student achievement goals specific to their subject areas. Many DCPS teachers also have a value-added measure to assess student learning growth.

The District of Columbia also noted that state policy requires LEAs to report data points based on guidelines mandated under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in compliance with the equitable access initiative that ensures low-income students and minorities are not disproportionally served by out-of-field, inexperienced, and ineffective teachers. The law does not set specific requirements for the various components of the teacher evaluation system. The state allows LEA autonomy and flexibility in this area.


Updated: June 2019

How we graded

7A: Measures of Student Growth 

  • Student Growth: The state should require:
    • That districts use an evaluation instrument that includes objective student growth measure
The full goal score is earned based on the following:

  • Full credit: The state will earn full credit if it requires teacher evaluations to include objective measures of student growth. 

Research rationale

Many factors should be considered in formally evaluating a teacher; however, nothing is more important than effectiveness in the classroom. Value-added models are an important tool for measuring student achievement and school effectiveness.[1] These models have the ability to measure individual students' learning gains, controlling for students' previous knowledge and background characteristics. While some research suggests value-added models are subject to bias and statistical limitations,[2] rich data and strong controls can eliminate error and bias.[3] In the area of teacher quality, examining student growth offers a fairer and potentially more meaningful way to evaluate a teacher's effectiveness than other methods schools use.

Unfortunately, districts have used many evaluation instruments, including some mandated by states, which are structured so that teachers can earn a satisfactory rating without any evidence that they are sufficiently advancing student learning in the classroom.[4] Teacher evaluation instruments should include factors that combine both human judgment and objective measures of student learning.[5]


[1] Hanushek, E. A., & Hoxby, C. M. (2005). Developing value-added measures for teachers and schools. Reforming Education in Arkansas, 99-104.; Clotfelter, C. & Ladd, H. F. (1996). Recognizing and rewarding success in public schools. In H. Ladd (Ed.), Holding schools accountable: Performance based reform in education (pp. 23-64). Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.; Ladd, H. F., & Walsh, R. P. (2002). Implementing value-added measures of school effectiveness: Getting the incentives right. Economics of Education Review, 21(1), 1-17.; Meyer, R. H. (1996). Value-added indicators of school performance. In E. A. Hanushek (Ed.), Improving America's schools: The role of incentives, (pp. 197-223). Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.; Braun, H. I. (2005). Using student progress to evaluate teachers: A primer on value-added models. Educational Testing Service.
[2] Rothstein, J. (2009). Student sorting and bias in value-added estimation: Selection on observables and unobservables. Education, 4(4), 537-571.; McCaffrey, D. F., Lockwood, J. R., Koretz, D., Louis, T. A., & Hamilton, L. (2004). Models for value-added modeling of teacher effects. Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, 29(1), 67-101.; Darling-Hammond, L., Amrein-Beardsley, A., Haertel, E., & Rothstein, J. (2012). Evaluating teacher evaluation. Phi Delta Kappan, 93(6), 8-15.; McCaffrey, D. F., Lockwood, J. R., Koretz, D. M., & Hamilton, L. S. (2003). Evaluating value-added models for teacher accountability. Monograph. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation.
[3] Chetty, R., Friedman, J. N., & Rockoff, J. E. (2014). Measuring the impacts of teachers II: Teacher value-added and student outcomes in adulthood. The American Economic Review, 104(9), 2633-2679.; Ballou, D., Sanders, W., & Wright, P. (2004). Controlling for student background in value-added assessment of teachers. Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, 29(1), 37-65.; Chetty, R., Friedman, J. N., & Rockoff, J. E. (2014). Measuring the impacts of teachers I: Evaluating bias in teacher value-added estimates. The American Economic Review, 104(9), 2593-2632.
[4] Weisberg, D., Sexton, S., Mulhern, J., Keeling, D., Schunck, J., Palcisco, A., & Morgan, K. (2009). The widget effect: Our national failure to acknowledge and act on differences in teacher effectiveness. New Teacher Project.; Glazerman, S., Loeb, S., Goldhaber, D., Staiger, D., Raudenbush, S., & Whitehurst, G. (2010). Evaluating teachers: The important role of value-added. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution.
[5] Kane, T. J., Taylor, E. S., Tyler, J. H., & Wooten, A. L. (2011). Identifying effective classroom practices using student achievement data. Journal of Human Resources, 46(3), 587-613.; Taylor, E. S., & Tyler, J. H. (2012). The effect of evaluation on teacher performance. The American Economic Review, 102(7), 3628-3651.