teacher and principal evaluation policy

6 reasons to improve teacher and principal evaluation policies

New analysis finds ample opportunities for state policymakers to implement teacher and principal evaluation systems that drive educator and student success

  • Fewer than half of states require all teachers to be evaluated every year. Every professional, no matter where they are in their career, can benefit from regular feedback and evaluation. While most states (37) require annual evaluation for early-career or probationary teachers, only 22 states require all teachers get this critical feedback that can help them continue to hone their craft. It is more common for states to require annual evaluations for all principals, regardless of experience level, with 30 states maintaining this requirement.
  • Only 14 states ensure that every teacher is observed multiple times as part of their evaluation. Observations and feedback are key to supporting teachers’ growth and development, leading to teachers viewing their evaluation system as more meaningful. Research also shows that including multiple observations, preferably by multiple observers, helps to assess teacher performance. Multiple observations are even more important for new teachers, who need more frequent feedback on their practice to drive improvement. There are 30 states that require multiple observations for early-career teachers, still leaving opportunities for many states to adopt this policy.
  • Many states still do not explicitly require feedback to be provided to teachers after an observation. As schools take on the urgent work of helping students recover from the pandemic, they must ensure that teachers get the timely, specific, and actionable feedback they need to improve. Yet there are 19 states that do not have a policy that requires feedback to teachers after each observation, while two states specifically designate observation feedback as optional. 
  • Many states still do not directly connect teacher evaluation results to professional development. Research suggests that observations are more likely to positively impact teachers’ effectiveness when they are connected directly to professional development opportunities. Yet 20 states do not explicitly connect evaluation results to professional development, missing a critical opportunity to require aligned support to help teachers to improve.

“I see a lot of opportunities here,” continued Dr. Peske. “With the whole education community collectively focused on accelerating student learning, states can seize this moment to reverse some of the declines and stagnation we’ve seen around educator evaluation. I look at these data and see clear steps that state leaders can take to make meaningful improvements to their evaluation systems, in order to help teachers and principals grow, and students learn.”

The new NCTQ report provides examples of stand-out state policies and detailed policy recommendations for state education leaders, including recommendations on how to support quality implementation of these policies.

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