NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED515656
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 48
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
The Widget Effect: Our National Failure to Acknowledge and Act on Differences in Teacher Effectiveness. Second Edition
Weisberg, Daniel; Sexton, Susan; Mulhern, Jennifer; Keeling, David; Schunck, Joan; Palcisco, Ann; Morgan, Kelli
New Teacher Project
This report examines the pervasive and longstanding failure to recognize and respond to variations in the effectiveness of teachers. At the heart of the matter are teacher evaluation systems, which in theory should serve as the primary mechanism for assessing such variations, but in practice tell everyone little about how one teacher differs from any other, except teachers whose performance is so egregiously poor as to warrant dismissal. The failure of evaluation systems to provide accurate and credible information about individual teachers' instructional performance sustains and reinforces a phenomenon that people have come to call the "Widget Effect". The "Widget Effect" describes the tendency of school districts to assume classroom effectiveness is the same from teacher to teacher. This decades-old fallacy fosters an environment in which teachers cease to be understood as individual professionals, but rather as interchangeable parts. In its denial of individual strengths and weaknesses, it is deeply disrespectful to teachers; in its indifference to instructional effectiveness, it gambles with the lives of students. (Contains 17 figures and 64 notes.) [Additional funding for this paper was provided by the Robertson Foundation, and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. For the executive summary, see ED515659.]
New Teacher Project. 186 Joralemon Street Suite 300, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Tel: 718-233-2800; Fax: 718-643-9202; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Joyce Foundation; Carnegie Corporation of New York; Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, Parents' Educational Resource Center; Walton Family Foundation
Authoring Institution: New Teacher Project
Identifiers - Location: Arkansas; Colorado; Illinois; Ohio
IES Cited: ED565633; ED565674; ED552484