Washington D.C.’s “rigid, numerically based” IMPACT rates teachers based on classroom observations and student performance, notes Inside IMPACT, a new Education Sector report.  The old system rated 95 percent of D.C. teachers “satisfactory” or above.

“In the two years since this high-stakes report card was launched, it has led to the firing of scores of educators, put hundreds more on notice, and left the rest either encouraged and re-energized, or frustrated and scared,” writes author Susan Headden.

Multiple-measures teacher evaluation is the future of K–12 education, the report concludes. In D.C., the future is now.

Figure 1 from "Inside IMPACT," What Teachers Are Graded On

Here’s the New York Times story on IMPACT, which notes that “last year 35 percent of the teachers in the city’s wealthiest area, Ward 3, were rated highly effective, compared with 5 percent in Ward 8, the poorest.”

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  1. CarolineSF says:

    The NY Times story left out some of the descriptions of the IMPACT system that I’ve seen. As reported (I have no personal experience and can’t confirm this firsthand), the system had total strangers dropping in to observe teachers for a short time with a checklist, and the teacher had to engage in some 30 teaching behaviors/practices during that time — a requirement that basically ruled out all normal human behavior. It was reported that teachers had special, totally staged lessons that they sprang into on the spot as a pure survival mechanism, since normal teaching — even by a master — would never allow them to demonstrate all those points in such a short time. It sounded absolutely comic. I’ve read about this in several places, so it’s surprising that Sam Dillon left that out. As I understand it, the system was revised somewhat due to the obvious fact that it wasn’t in touch with reality.