Why Pre-K and the Early Grades are Different

A Blog Series on Teacher Evaluation
Policy Paper
Nov. 22, 2016

Across the country, an increasing number of states and districts are exploring how best to support their youngest students during the preK-3rd grades — a critical period for children’s learning and development. At the same time, an increased emphasis on teacher accountability has left states and districts grappling with how to most effectively evaluate teachers.

The following blog series explores the confluence of these two trends by examining teacher evaluation in the early grades — why it is different and how states and districts are approaching this relatively new frontier. Teacher quality is especially important during these early years of schooling, when children’s learning depends on the quality of interactions they experience with adults. Specifically, this series looks at three components of teacher evaluations and how they are being used in the early grades: classroom observations, student-growth measures (specifically student learning objectives), and student surveys.