Measuring Teacher Effectiveness

A Resource for Teachers, Administrators, Policymakers, and Parents

Many personal, family, and neighborhood factors contribute to a student's academic performance, but a large body of research suggests that, among school-related factors, teachers matter most. What's less clear, however, is how to measure an individual teacher's effectiveness.

It's a complex topic, and there are many factors that should be considered. RAND Education and Labor has applied its expertise to this and nearly every other aspect of the education system for more than three decades. This site is for teachers, administrators, policymakers, parents, and anyone else seeking objective, nonpartisan information on measuring teaching effectiveness.

These fact sheets are intended to provide accessible summaries of topics related to measuring teacher effectiveness. Readers who are interested in a more complete treatment of a given topic should refer to the “related readings” list at the end of each fact sheet.

Explore the Measuring Teacher Effectiveness Fact Sheet Series

  • woman with girl on laptop

    Understanding Teachers' Impact on Student Achievement

    Research suggests that, among school-related factors, teachers matter most when it comes to a student's academic performance. Nonschool factors do influence student achievement, but effective teaching has the potential to help level the playing field.

  • male teacher lecturing in front of chalkboard

    Value-Added Modeling 101

    Value-added models, or VAMs, attempt to measure a teacher's impact on student achievement apart from other factors, such as individual ability, family environment, past schooling, and the influence of peers.

  • parent taking child to school

    Student Growth Percentiles 101

    Student growth percentiles, or SGPs, provide a simple way of comparing the improvement of one teacher's students at the end of the year with the improvement of other students who started the year at the same level.