A growing number of states award teachers a rating of effective or higher even if those teachers score poorly on student learning, according to a new study from the National Council on Teacher Quality.

Currently, 30 states use evidence of student learning as part of teacher evaluations. Some of those states give teachers an “effective” rating even if they earn the lowest possible score on their ability to increase student learning.

The report, Running in Place: How New Teacher Evaluations Fail to Live Up to Promises, shows how regulations and guidance from state educational agencies allow schools to continue to rate nearly all teachers effective.

“State legislators made a big deal about their changes to teacher evaluations. They claimed new laws ensure that only teachers who proved their ability to raise student achievement would be rated effective or better,” said Kate Walsh, President and Founder of NCTQ. “Unfortunately, state education agencies preserved the status quo by creating giant loopholes in the criteria for how teachers can earn an effective rating.”

Only 2 of the 30 states–Indiana and Kentucky–have clearly-articulated policies requiring teachers to meet specific student learning goals in order to achieve an “effective” rating.

(Next page: How the remaining states don’t uphold what should be a rigorous teacher evaluation system)