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Designing and Implementing Teacher Performance Management Systems: Pitfalls and Possibilities

April 11, 2011  • Ross Wiener, Ariel Jacobs

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As new performance-management-related policies go from idea to implementation, policy makers and education leaders need to flesh-out what are still broad principles in many areas. This represents a significant inflection point for the teaching profession and the management of public school systems. Early decisions will determine whether the new evaluations form the basis of a new, more productive way of working in public education, or yet another policy pronouncement with little impact on outcomes.

In 2010, the Aspen Institute convened a diverse group of stakeholders — senior leaders from districts, states, and the federal government; union leaders from both the AFT and NEA; technical assistance providers, social entrepreneurs, and scholars — to discuss these issues. The workshop focused on designing and implementing teacher performance management systems.

This new Education & Society Program paper is a discussion of key themes and takeaways from the workshop. A set of 6 core principles emerged for guiding the development and implementation of new teacher evaluations and performance management policies. Using examples from the field, the paper expands on the principles and challenges policymakers to focus on comprehensive systems rather than “fixes” for discrete problems.