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ERIC Number: ED515659
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
The Widget Effect: Our National Failure to Acknowledge and Act on Differences in Teacher Effectiveness. Executive Summary. Second Edition
Weisberg, Daniel; Sexton, Susan; Mulhern, Jennifer; Keeling, David
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. [For the main report, see ED515656.]
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: N/A
Authoring Institution: New Teacher Project
Identifiers - Location: Arkansas; Colorado; Illinois; Ohio