It is unusual that a party’s platform mentions education research, but this year the Democratic platform states, “We oppose … the use of student test scores in teacher and principal evaluations, a practice which has been repeatedly rejected by researchers.”

The 74 contacted researchers who study teacher evaluation to see if they agree that the use of test scores has been rejected.

Matt Barnum writes:

Several of the researchers said that measures of test score growth had significant limitations, but also provided meaningful information about a teacher’s impact on long-run outcomes; moreover, other ways to evaluate educators, particularly classroom observations, have some of same flaws as value-added. Some studies have found that teacher evaluations that include test scores can lead to improve student outcomes.

You can read the full responses of the scholars here.

Perhaps the best known study connecting a teacher’s impact on test scores with their students’ long-term outcomes can be found in Education Next: “Great Teaching: Measuring its effects on students’ future earnings,” by Raj Chetty, John Friedman, and Jonah Rockoff.

— Education Next

Last updated August 1, 2016