Published: January 25, 2008

Evaluating Teachers

Research suggests teaching matters more to student achievement than anything else schools do. This year’s Quality Counts 2008 report focuses on states’ efforts to improve the teaching profession. One set of indicators in the report—and the focus of this stat of the week—concerns states’ teacher evaluation policies.

To shed light on teacher evaluation policies, the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center examined whether states require: (1) all teachers' performance to be formally evaluated; (2) teacher evaluations to be tied to student achievement; (3) teacher evaluations to occur on an annual basis; and (4) evaluators to receive formal training.

State Policies on Teacher Evaluation in 2007-08

A majority of states (43) require all teachers to be formally evaluated and about half (26) require evaluators to receive formal training. But only 12 states tie teachers' performance evaluations to the achievement of their students and only 12 mandate that evaluations occur each year.

Overall only four states—Florida, Georgia, New York and Oklahoma—have all four of these teacher evaluation policies in place while another nine states have implemented three of the four measures. Thirty states have one or two policies in place. Eight states—the District of Columbia, Indiana, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Wyoming—do not require any of these policies.

States may seek to develop systematic ways to identify and retain effective teachers. Having rigorous teacher evaluation policies could help states improve their teaching workforce and ultimately raise student achievement.

For more state-by-state information about teacher evaluation policies, please see the EPE Research Center's Education Counts database.

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