The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has contracted with The University of Texas at Austin's Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs to develop a comprehensive metric that measures a teacher's effect on student achievement under the direction of the school's Project on Educator Effectiveness and Quality (PEEQ).
The metric will focus on teachers in their first three years in the classroom and will be used to help determine the quality of the state's educator preparation programs. It will have a statewide application and will be the first of its kind for a state as large and demographically diverse as Texas.
"There are several teacher effectiveness models being developed across the country, but few are being developed at the state level," said Cynthia Osborne, PEEQ director. "There are things you can do within a large district or even a smaller state that will not work statewide in Texas, statistically or practically."
For several months, PEEQ has been setting the groundwork for developing an effective metric and working collaboratively with teachers, principals, superintendents and educator preparation programs. PEEQ's primary goal is to ensure the metric will be a valid and reliable tool that accurately reflects the quality of teaching in Texas and provides useful feedback to educator preparation programs to help them improve the quality of their programs.
"There is anxiety surrounding educator accountability," said Osborne. "We have a responsibility to stakeholders that what we develop is transparent and of the highest quality possible."
A pilot metric will be available to TEA in March 2012.
The Project on Educator Effectiveness and Quality is an initiative of the LBJ School of Public Affairs' Center for Health and Social Policy at The University of Texas at Austin. In addition to Osborne, an associate professor at the LBJ School, the PEEQ team includes Jane Lincove, PEEQ co-director and LBJ School assistant professor, and Paul von Hippel, PEEQ faculty research associate and LBJ School assistant professor.
More on the PEEQ pilot metric:
The objective of the project is to assess the performance of new teachers in their first three years in the classroom and provide feedback to educator preparation programs (EPPs), teachers and policymakers that will improve the quality of teaching and enhance student learning in Texas. The metric will be used for the student achievement standard set forth in Texas Education Code § 21.045 (formerly SB 174) and federal grant requirements for measuring educator effectiveness through the new State Longitudinal Data System.
PEEQ recommends that an effective metric should be:
- Comprehensive - The metric should draw from multiple sources to provide a complete picture of a teacher's effect on student achievement, including growth in student performance on state standardized exams, when applicable.
- Useful - The metric should lead to more effective training and professional development for teachers that allow teachers to modify and improve instruction and raise student achievement.
- Reliable Variations in a teacher's annual score should reflect true variation in a teacher's effect on student achievement; the effects of measurement error, test scaling, or poor data quality should be minimized.
- Valid Each instrument used in the metric should measure a teacher's influence on student achievement, and differences across student populations and school contexts should be considered.
- Transparent - Teachers, principals, EPPs and policy makers should understand exactly what components are included in the metric and how each component is measured and weighted.