The Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR) at Harvard University recently released a report examining how reliably a portfolio system can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of early-career teachers. The report, “Are Practice-Based Teacher Evaluations and Teacher Effectiveness Linked in TNTP’s Performance Assessment System (PAS)?” examines the evaluation system for first-year Louisiana teachers trained by TNTP, a national nonprofit organization focused on improving teacher performance.
In this study, the authors examine the PAS, a teacher evaluation portfolio system that TNTP uses as one measure to assess teacher effectiveness when making certification recommendations through its TNTP Academy teacher preparation program in Louisiana. Each teacher’s PAS portfolio is rated by at least two TNTP assessors and includes a sample instructional unit, videotaped lesson, classroom observation report, stakeholder survey results, and a student achievement report.
Two key findings emerge:
- First, there is a modest positive relationship between teachers’ PAS scores and actual student achievement growth in math and reading. In other words, a teacher with a higher PAS score is somewhat more likely to achieve greater learning gains with his or her students than a teacher with a lower PAS score.
- Second, while the PAS system collects an immense amount of detailed data about TNTP-trained teachers, much of that information is lost as teacher ratings are collapsed into a select group of categories designed to assess teacher performance holistically. This analysis suggests that, with some technical improvements, the PAS could become an even better predictor of student academic outcomes.