Assessing Teacher Effectiveness in Pittsburgh Public Schools

Prepared for
Pittsburgh Public Schools
Pittsburgh map

In a project with the Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS), Mathematica has developed value-added statistical models that estimate teachers’ and schools’ contributions to the achievement of their students. Our work in estimating value-added in Pittsburgh supports the larger, joint efforts of PPS and the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers to “empower effective teachers” through evaluation, professional development, new career tracks, and compensation. Pittsburgh’s value-added models use not only state assessments but also course-specific assessments, student attendance, and course completion rates, thereby aiming to produce estimates of the contributions of teachers and schools that are fair, valid, reliable, and robust. Our findings suggest that the value-added model estimates provide meaningful information on teacher and school performance in Pittsburgh.