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Teacher evaluation study eyed in Pittsburgh

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By Bill Zlatos
Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Teachers get better information on how they are doing in class when districts measure performance using a combination of student achievement on state tests, student surveys and classroom observations, according to a study released on Tuesday.

Paid for by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the three-year Measures of Effective Teaching project found that the best teacher evaluation is based one-third to one-half on state test scores and the rest on classroom observations and student surveys.

“This latest release continues to confirm that we are following the right path,” said Sam Franklin, executive director of the Office of Teacher Effectiveness for Pittsburgh Public Schools.

More than 100 teachers from Pittsburgh were among 3,000 teachers who volunteered for the study. Others come from Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Memphis, New York City and Tampa.

The study, the final to be issued, found using state achievement tests, classroom observations and student surveys predicted teachers' success far better than having a master's degree or years of teaching experience.

Pittsburgh Public Schools wants to use a model that is half based on classroom observations, 30 percent on how the teacher's students improve on state tests, 15 percent on student surveys and 5 percent on school results. The city school board will vote on that approach Jan. 23.

Starting in 2013-14, state law requires districts to base half of teachers' evaluations on classroom observations and half on student outcomes.

Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7828 or

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