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Estimating teacher impact using school assessment data

New research – led by the National Institute of Teaching and Evidence-Based Education – has illuminated new ways of understanding how teachers have impact.

The research marks the first stage of an ambitious project to bring together a wealth of strictly anonymised data from the NIoT’s founding trusts to explore how approaches to teacher training, classroom practice, and CPD can have an impact on pupil outcomes. The project team was led by Professor Rob Coe at Evidence-Based Education and Dr Raj Chande from the National Institute of Teaching.

Schools in England face enormous retention and recruitment challenges. Policymakers and school leaders are focused on developing our existing teachers as effectively as possible but cannot know which training pathways are best because we have no reliable way of estimating a teacher’s impact.

The growth of Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) provides an opportunity to estimate teacher impact in England. In some trusts, thousands of pupils across dozens of schools can sit the same assessment at the same time, sometimes having been taught the same curriculum. The assessment data can be anonymised so that no individual school, teacher, or pupil can be identified. Researchers can analyse these completely anonymised assessment results to see if some teachers achieve more progress than others, accounting for their pupils’ prior attainment and key demographic information (such as SEND status, or eligibility for Free School Meals). While remaining completely anonymous, these estimates of teacher impact could be used to analyse whether some teacher development pathways are more effective than others.

The research set out to establish that the use of anonymised assessment data for these purposes is acceptable to teachers and school leaders, and that the assessments are sufficiently accurate measures of attainment.

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Can we estimate teacher impact from school assessment data?

Estimating teacher value-added from schools’ internal assessments in England

This study investigated the acceptability and feasibility of estimating reliable and valid Value-Added Models (VAMs) in England for the evaluation of school interventions and different teacher training routes. Datasets already available in English primary and secondary schools were explored to examine whether they could inform and support the evaluation of school interventions and different training routes. The originality of this study also lies in the use of end-of-year assessments and data which are already available and collected by schools in England.

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