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Linda Darling-Hammond’s new paper hands the reader many good notions but few concrete recommendations. She explains the need for teacher assessments but bemoans those in use in America today. As she states, “current measures for evaluating teachers are not often linked to their capacity to teach.” Going forward, while she claims to favor value-added teacher assessments, she continues to push for qualitative methods (e.g., portfolio reviews and classroom observations) to determine teacher effectiveness—especially for beginner teachers. For those new to the classroom, she recommends development of a national performance assessment modeled after the National Board Teacher Certification program, and she also wants to follow these teachers over time. Through this early assessment and longitudinal tracking, Darling-Hammond argues, quality and consistency of data will be enhanced, allowing districts and school leaders to make better informed staffing decisions. While we agree that the teacher evaluation system needs an overhaul, we’re not convinced that Darling-Hammond’s approach is the way to do it.


Chris Irvine

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