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Evaluating America’s Teachers

Mission Possible?

Poor evaluation systems don’t just hurt teachers—they hurt students, too. Popham provides a clear rationale and strategies for implementing a balanced, accurate, and rigorous teacher evaluation model.

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Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781452260853
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2013
  • Page Count: 200
  • Publication date: May 17, 2013

Price: $31.95

Price: $31.95
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When teacher evaluations are fair, everyone wins.

Poor evaluation systems don’t just hurt teachers—they hurt students, too. That’s why America can’t afford to wait for the teacher-evaluation problem to be solved. To provide balanced, accurate, and rigorous evaluations that take into account each teacher’s particular circumstances, only one system can work: evidence-governed collegial judgment.

As states and schools scramble to find workable responses to accountability mandates, well-informed educators can make key contributions. Start here with

  • A discussion of common evaluation systems, including testing, value-added models, and observations
  • Analysis of federal guidelines and state responses
  • Action steps teachers and school leaders can take to influence policy
  • A clear rationale and strategies for implementing a teacher evaluation model based on human judgment

Evaluating America’s Teachers demonstrates that the vision is possible: effective teacher evaluations that benefit schools as a whole.

“Teachers, administrators, and policy makers rejoice! Here is a single book, from a nationally recognized scholar, that makes sense of the issues involved with the evaluation of teachers.”
—David C. Berliner, Regents’ Professor Emeritus
Arizona State University

“Once again Jim Popham has brought insight and clarity to a complex topic that only a person of his stature and expertise could provide.”
—Robert J. Marzano, CEO
Marzano Research Laboratory

“In an effective and diplomatic manner, Jim suggests concrete ways policymakers, along with local school leaders and teachers, can make sure our students are protected from summative teacher-evaluation systems that do more harm than good. No one should make policy at any level or strive to build a defensible teacher evaluation system without studying this book.”
—Rick Stiggins, Retired Executive Director
Assessment Training Institute

Key features

  • Clear and specific discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of common evaluation systems such as testing, value added models, and observations.
  • Cases and examples drawn from the author's experience
  • Clear and engaging writing style


W. James Popham photo

W. James Popham

W. James Popham, professor emeritus at University of California Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, has spent the bulk of his educational career as a teacher. His first teaching assignment, for example, was in a small eastern Oregon high school where he taught English and social studies while serving as yearbook advisor, class sponsor, and unpaid tennis coach. That recompense meshed ideally with the quality of his coaching.

Most of Dr. Popham's teaching career took place at UCLA where, for nearly 30 years, he taught courses in instructional methods for prospective teachers as well as courses in evaluation and measurement for graduate students. At UCLA he won several distinguished teaching awards. In January 2000, he was recognized by UCLA Today as one of UCLA’s top 20 professors of the 20th century. (He notes that the 20th century was a full-length century, unlike the current abbreviated one.) In 1992, he took early retirement from UCLA upon learning that emeritus professors received free parking.

Because at UCLA he was acutely aware of the perishability of professors who failed to publish, he spent his non-teaching hours affixing words to paper. The result: 30 books, 200 journal articles, 50 research reports, and 175 papers presented before research societies. Although not noted in his official vita, while at UCLA he also authored 1,426 grocery lists.

His most recent books are Classroom Assessment: What Teachers Need to Know, 6th Ed. (2010) and Assessment for Educational Leaders (2006), Allyn & Bacon; The Truth About Testing (2001), Test Better, Teach Better (2003), Transformative Assessment (2008) and Instruction that Measures Up (2009) ASCD; America’s “Failing” Schools (2005) and Mastering Assessment (2006), Routledge; and Unlearned Lessons (2009) Harvard Education Press. He encourages purchase of these books because he regards their semi-annual royalties as psychologically reassuring.

In 1978, Dr. Popham was elected to the presidency of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). He was also the founding editor of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, a quarterly journal published by AERA. A Fellow of the Association, he has attended each year's AERA meeting since his first in 1958. He is inordinately compulsive.

In 1968, Dr. Popham established IOX Assessment Associates, an R&D group that formerly created statewide student achievement tests for a dozen states. He has personally passed all of those tests, largely because of his unlimited access to the tests’ answer keys.

In 2002 the National Council on Measurement in Education presented him with its Award for Career Contributions to Educational Measurement. In 2006 he was awarded a Certificate of Recognition by the National Association of Test Directors. In 2009, he was appointed to be a board member of the National Assessment Governing Board. Dr. Popham’s complete 44-page, single-spaced vita can be requested. It is really dull reading.

School Leadership Briefing Interview
Table of Contents

Table of Contents



1. What Underlies the Tightening of Today's Teacher-Evaluation Programs?

What Uncle Sam Wants

A Federal Vision of Teacher Evaluation

What Could Go Wrong?

Chapter Implications for Three Audiences

2. Human Judgment: Needed or Not?

Human Judgment's Role

Evaluation Basics

What about the Evaluation of Teachers?

Judgment-Requisite Choices

Chapter Implications for Three Audiences

3. Defensible Teacher Evaluation

The Wonders of Whereas

Why Use a Weighted-Evidence Judgmental Approach to Teacher Evaluation?

A Weighted-Evidence Judgment Evaluative Survey

Who Are the Judges?

Chapter Implications for Three Audiences

4. Evidence from Standardized Tests

Key Testing Tenets

Why We Test

A Psychometric Blessed Trinity

Standardized Test- Two Tribes, Two Tasks

Traditional Test-Building and Its Off-Task Allure

The Origins of Traditional Educational Testing

Dealing with Effective Instruction

Ensuring Score-Spread from the Get-Go

Instructional Sensitivity as a Requisite

Returning to Validity

Evidential-Weight Guidelines

Chapter Implications for Three Audiences

5. Evidence from Classroom Assessments

Staking Out the Nature of "Classroom Assessment"

A Quest for Evidence of Student Growth

Formative and Summative Applications

Enhancing the Quality of Classroom-Assessment Evidence

Evidence of a Teacher's Instructional Ability

What's Assessed

The Traditional Psychometric Triplets

Following Test Development, Improvement, and Scoring Rules

Have Teachers Played it Straight?

Evidential-Weight Guidelines

Chapter Implications for Three Audiences

6. Evidence from Classroom Observations

What's Distinctive about Classroom Observations?

Observations Versus Ratings

Playing the Odds: Observation of Instructional Means

An Observational Reality: The Mysterious Middle Group

Getting the Most Evaluative Mileage Out of Classroom Observation Evidence

Two Widely-Used Observation Procedures

Danielson's Framework for Teaching

The Marzano Model

Evidential-Weight Guidelines

Chapter Implications for Three Audiences

7. Evidence from Ratings

Rooting Around with Ratings

Lurking Comparisons

Amalgam Judgments

Three Flavors of Bias

Administrators' Ratings

Students' Ratings

Making Ratings Righteous

The Rating Form

Rater Preparation

The Old and the New

Evidential-Weight Guidelines

Chapter Implications for Three Audiences

8. Evidence from Sundry Sources

Alternative Sources of Evidence for Evaluating Teachers

Academic Achievements

Changes in Students' Affect

Lesson Plans

Opportunity-to-Learn Student Surveys

Parental Engagement

Parent Ratings

Professional Development

Ratings by Colleagues

Student Interviews

Teacher-Made Tests

Teachers' Self-Ratings

Augmentation or Obfuscation?

Evidential-Weight Guidelines

Chapter Implications for Three Audiences

9. Mission Possible?

Weighted-Evidence Judgment of Teachers: A Reprise

What To Do- And How?

Chapter Imlpications for Three Audiences

Responding to a Subtitle




Price: $31.95
Volume Discounts applied in Shopping Cart

For Instructors

Request Review Copy

When you select 'request review copy', you will be redirected to Sage Publishing (our parent site) to process your request.