More than Measurement: The TAP System???s Lessons Learned for Designing Better Teacher Evaluation Systems

Over the past decade, Lowell Milken’s Teacher
Advancement Program (TAP)—designed to boost teacher effectiveness through accountability,
performance pay, and professional development—has ballooned in popularity: It
currently serves 10,000 teachers affecting 100,000 students, and rising. With
this report, the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, or NIET (the
program’s administrator), offers ten lessons for policymakers and practitioners seeking
to revamp their teacher evaluation system. Interestingly, while use of a
value-added metric (VAM) is central in the TAP evaluation, it receives lower
billing in this report. The majority of the lessons focus on professional
development and staff buy-in: “Provide teachers with targeted follow up” and
“Attend to the ‘human side’ of evaluation” being two examples. Perhaps the most
important lesson pulled from the somewhat self-aggrandizing evaluation, though,
is the need for an “evidence-based evaluation rubric balancing breadth and
depth.” On this score, NIET highlights TAP’s nineteen-point rubric, and promotes
its five-point scale of evaluation (which avoids floor and ceiling effects,
while providing near all teachers with a trajectory for improvement). All in all, if you
want to get beyond the rhetorical battles around teacher evaluation and into
the weeds, this is a great place to start.

Craig D. Jerald and Kristan Van Hook, “More than Measurement:
The TAP System’s Lessons Learned for Designing Better Teacher Evaluation Systems
(Santa Monica, CA: National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, January

Marena Perkins is a Research Intern at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute