Panel Paper: Teacher Performance Feedback in a Formal Evaluation Setting: Does Labeling Teachers As “Ineffective” Impact Student Achievement?

Friday, November 9, 2018
8219 - Lobby Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Kata Mihaly and Louis T. Mariano, RAND Corporation

Teacher evaluation systems, currently in place across 45 states in the U.S., assign performance ratings to teachers using cut points on composite evaluation scores. Such composite scores are calculated as weighted aggregates of multiple measures of effectiveness, such as classroom observations, student growth, and student surveys. Informing teachers about their performance has the potential to motivate them to improve their practice and lead to higher student achievement, independent of any other action that is tied to the performance rating, such as salary bonuses for highly effective teachers or intensive professional development for ineffective teachers. This study uses data from a fully implemented formal teacher evaluation system in New Mexico in the 2013-14 school year to examine the impact of informing teachers about their overall performance rating, where impacts are estimated on student achievement and teacher retention outcomes. Ratings are assigned into one of 5 ordinal categories identified by cut-points on a continuous composite evaluation score. Using a strict regression discontinuity design, we separately examine labeling effects at two distinct cut points, corresponding to being labeled in each of the two lowest rating categories.