The MET project is based on two premises: First, a teacher's evaluation should depend to a significant extent on his/her students' achievement gains; second, any additional components of the evaluation (e.g., classroom observations) should be valid predictors of student achievement gain.
Student achievement was measured in two ways—through existing state assessments, designed to assess student progress on the state curriculum for accountability purposes, and supplemental assessments, designed to assess higher-order conceptual understanding. The supplemental assessments used were Stanford 9 Open-Ended Reading Assessment in grades 4 through 8, Balanced Assessment in Mathematics (BAM) in grades 4 through 8, and the ACT QualityCore series for Algebra I, English 9, and Biology.
Panoramic digital video of classroom sessions were taken of participating teachers and students, teachers submitted commentary on their lessons (e.g., specifying the learning objective) and then trained raters scored the lesson based on classroom observation protocols using the following five observation protocols:
- Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), developed by Robert Pianta, University of Virginia
- Framework for Teaching, developed by Charlotte Danielson
- Mathematical Quality of Instruction (MQI), developed by Heather Hill, Harvard University, and Deborah Loewenberg Ball, University of Michigan
- Protocol for Language Arts Teaching Observations (PLATO), developed by Pam Grossman, Stanford University
- Quality Science Teaching (QST) Instrument, developed by Raymond Pecheone, Stanford University
A subset of the videos also are being scored using an observational protocol developed by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS)
Close to 3,000 teacher volunteers from across the following six, predominantly urban, school districts participated in the MET project: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Dallas Independent School District, Denver Public Schools, Hillsborough County Public Schools, Memphis City Schools, and the New York City Department of Education. Participants teach math and English language arts (ELA) in grades 4–8, Algebra I, grade 9 English, and high school biology.
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