Research consistently confirms that a quality teacher is the single most important factor in increasing student achievement. If Washington wants every student better prepared to succeed in life after high school, every public school and classroom must have by a high-quality teacher and principal.

In 2012, the Washington State Legislature passed Senate Bill 5895, which established a four-tiered teacher-and-principal evaluation system that will:

  • allow for more quality professional development;
  • provide time for quality implementation of new evaluations;
  • establish more comprehensive, thorough and consistent educator evaluations; and
  • tie educator evaluation outcomes to human resources decisions.

Passing SB 5895 was a major step in Washington. But, there is more policy work to be done to ensure the new system is properly implemented.

In January 2013, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation released a three-year study of effective teaching that revealed that multiple measures and classroom observations by two observers provides the most accurate measures for rating teachers. The Gates study, part of the Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) project, found:

  • effective teaching is measurable;
  • balanced scores from multiple measures of effective teaching, reflected in a composite indicator, best represent effective teaching; and
  • the most "trustworthy" classroom observations are those that include two or more observations and two observers, one of whom is from outside a teacher's school.

To learn more, read our policy brief: The Impact of Effective Teachers and Principals