Inside IMPACT: D.C.???s Model Teacher Evaluation System

Outsiders have envied, emulated, and damned
D.C.’s famous teacher-evaluation system, IMPACT. But what is the insiders’
perspective? This report from Ed Sector delivers the answer. Author Susan
Headden, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, presents a thorough and balanced
perspective on this revolutionary (but still emergent) system. She explains the
core elements of IMPACT (the classroom observations, instructional buckets
against which teachers are measured, etc.), and weaves a narrative that
effectively captures the experience of (a sample of) observed teachers, “master
educators” (the ones conducting the observations), as well as principals, union
leaders, and District staff responsible for developing the system. She notes a
few red flags (the distribution of IMPACT’s large performance bonuses are
concentrated in already high-performing schools, for example) and details a few
places where IMPACT could be improved, notably by doing more to help develop educators
rather than simply reward or punish them. But progress is being made on that
front. Based on our own interviews (below), we found that, overwhelmingly, teachers saw
monumental improvements in professional development, and that the new system
gave them specific, tangible ways to enhance instruction.

Click to play video of IMPACT (1) Click to play video of IMPACT (2) Click to play video of IMPACT (3)


Click to play

Click to listen to commentary on the D.C. IMPACT-based firings from the Education Gadfly Show podcast


Susan Headden, “Inside
IMPACT: D.C.’s Model Teacher Evaluation System
,” (Washington, D.C.: Education
Sector, June 2011).