Measures of Student Growth: Tennessee

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.

Meets
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2019). Measures of Student Growth: Tennessee results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/TN-Measures-of-Student-Growth-95

Analysis of Tennessee's policies

Impact of Student Growth: Tennessee requires, for teachers of tested grades and subjects, that 50 percent of their evaluation rating is derived from student achievement data. Of this 50 percent, 35 percent must be based on student growth measures. For teachers with individual Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS) scores, the student growth measures must be comprised of TVAAS scores. The remaining 15 percent comes from other measures of student achievement. 

For all teachers of non-tested grades and subjects in Tennessee, 30 percent of the evaluation score is comprised of student achievement data, with half based on achievement measures and half based on schoolwide growth. 

State's Role in Evaluation System: Tennessee provides a model, the Tennessee Educator Acceleration Model (TEAM), but districts may develop their own systems consistent with the state framework. Tennessee approves all district-developed evaluation systems.

Citation

Recommendations for Tennessee

Due to Tennessee's strong policies in this area, no recommendations are provided.

State response to our analysis

Tennessee clarified that it provides a model, the Tennessee Educator Acceleration Model (TEAM), but districts may develop their own systems for the qualitative portion (observation component) of the evaluation system, consistent with the state framework. The quantitative portion of the evaluation system is consistent across all models - state or district-developed. Tennessee approves all district-developed evaluation systems. The use of student data, growth, or achievement is consistent across all models - state model or district-developed model per TCA 49-1-302 (d)(2)(B). 

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.