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Data Quality Campaign Examines Data Systems' Impact on Teacher Effectiveness



Prepared by:
Audrey Busch (

November 23, 2010

On Wednesday, November 17, The Data Quality Campaign hosted a webinar titled “The Intersection of Policy and Data: How Defining ‘Teacher of Record’ Impacts Teacher Effectiveness Efforts.”

• Paige Kowalski, Senior Associate, Data Quality Campaign
• Sandi Jacobs, vice president, National Council on Teacher Quality
• Elizabeth Shaw, assistant superintendent for the Louisiana Department of Education

The moderator from the Data Quality Campaign, Paige Kowalski, kicked off the webinar saying, “[T]he heart of education reform is the ability to link teachers and students because it allows the teacher’s impact to be identified, provides targeted professional development strategies, tailors classroom instruction, provides research to identify best practices, and allows for programs preparing effective teachers to be identified.” Kowalski highlighted several federal investments, including Race to the Top, the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, and the Teacher Incentive Fund, which require recipients to develop and use a teacher-student data link. While there are clear incentives to using longitudinal data systems in education, there are implementation challenges, including the absence of policies and practices to ensure data is reviewed and verified by teachers and a lack of incentive to ensure the accuracy of data when it is not tied to funding. To address these challenges, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded a study to examine what circumstances would foster state support for implementation of such systems. It revealed that states must convene a working group comprised of stakeholders that defines what data is collected and sets clear goals for its use, sets a common definition for “Teacher of Record,” and determines how the class rosters will be verified. Kowalski stated that “the way the ‘Teacher of Record’ is defined determines a lot about what is valued.”
Sandi Jacobs explained that when reviewing states’ policies, it is clear that teacher quality and teacher effectiveness are disconnected from how and if a teacher is certified, paid and rewarded. In order to progress, Jacobs continued, states must evaluate teachers more frequently and must review how tenure decisions are made. Because of the federal programs like Race to the Top, many states have begun this process.

Elizabeth Shaw discussed how to link educator effectiveness to student outcomes, Louisiana implemented a value-added initiative that allows the data to link students to teachers and teachers to their teacher preparation programs. They are beginning a human capital information system that allows the district to store student performance data throughout a teacher’s career. Louisiana has addressed how teachers would verify students being attributed to them, but is still developing a ‘Teacher of Record’ definition. For more information, visit:

Kowalski reiterated the importance of states linking educator effectiveness with student outcomes and suggested webinar participants review the report online.

To read more about this webinar, visit:

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