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Evaluating the validity of MCAS scores as an indicator of teacher effectiveness

Jenna M Copella, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The Massachusetts Department of Secondary and Elementary Education (DESE) has implemented an Educator Evaluation Framework that requires MCAS scores be used as a significant indicator of teacher effectiveness when available. This decision has implications for thousands of Massachusetts public school teachers. To date, DESE has not provided evidence to support the validity of using MCAS scores to make interpretations about teacher effectiveness. A review of the literature reveals much variation in the degree to which teachers use state-adopted content standards to plan instruction. The findings in the literature warrant investigation into teacher practice among Massachusetts public school teachers. The research questions for this study will be: 1.) Are there variations in the degree to which Massachusetts public school teachers use the Curriculum Frameworks to plan Math instruction?; and 2.) Is MCAS as an instrument sensitive enough to reflect variations in teacher practice in the student's scores? A survey of Massachusetts public school principals and Math teachers, grades three through eight, investigated the research questions. Survey results revealed that Massachusetts teachers use the Curriculum Frameworks to plan instruction to varying degrees. Survey results also suggest a lack of relationship between teacher practice related to the use of the Curriculum Frameworks and student MCAS scores. These findings suggest MCAS scores may not be an appropriate indicator of teacher effectiveness; however, there are limitations to the study that require further investigation into these questions.

Subject Area

Educational tests & measurements|Educational evaluation|Education Policy

Recommended Citation

Copella, Jenna M, "Evaluating the validity of MCAS scores as an indicator of teacher effectiveness" (2013). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3556238.