The Brookings Institute, an influential Washington DC based think-tank, is jumping on the teachers evaluation fray with the new report Evaluating Teachers: the Important Role of Value-Added. I'll confess: I haven't read the full report (it was just released yesterday, just found it today, so have mercy on me). But it's not too long, and its conclusion may be something that pleases most. From the executive summary: "We conclude that value-added data has an important role to play in teacher evaluation systems, but that there is much to be learned about how best to use value-added information in human resource decisions."
The study looks at value-added, or the evaluation of teachers based on the contribution they make to the learning of their students, from four points of view: how is value-added used? what are the consequences (for teachers and students) for classifying or misclassifying teachers as effective or ineffective? How reliable are these types of tests? How reliable are evaluation methods between those that use value-added and those that don't?
There seems to be some momentum building up towards some type of standardized testing for teachers, so the more we know, the better off we'll be.