School & District Management

Report: Teacher-Evaluation Policies Becoming Increasingly ‘Rigorous’

By Liana Loewus — October 30, 2013 1 min read
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Today, the Washington-based National Council on Teacher Quality released its annual report rounding up states’ teacher-evaluation policies, which have become increasingly stringent over the last few years.

Notably, this year’s “State of the State” report indicates that 35 states and the District of Columbia now require student achievement to be a “significant” or the “most significant” factor in teacher evaluations. In 2011, such requirements only applied in 30 states. In fact, the number of states requiring achievement to be the most significant factor in evaluations has jumped from 4 states to 19 in the last four years.

The report also says that only 10 states—Alabama, California, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Texas, and Vermont—still do not require any objective measures of student achievement to be incorporated in teacher-evaluation results. Two years ago, 28 states lacked these requirements.

Twenty-seven states and D.C. now require that all teachers receive annual evaluations, according to the report. In 2011, 24 states had that requirement, and in 2009 only 15 did. And while no states used evidence of teacher effectiveness as a basis for tenure in 2009, now 18 states and D.C. do.

“The widespread adoption of more rigorous teacher evaluation policies represents a seismic shift rarely seen in education policy in general or state teacher policy specifically,” the report’s authors state.

The 102-page report goes on to analyze whether states are “connecting the dots,” or “using evaluation results to inform policies such as tenure, licensure advancement, professional development, compensation and teacher preparation,” which the authors see as critical to improving the teaching profession.

There’s plenty more to dig into here—for instance, on a close reading you’ll see that eight states are now requiring the use of student surveys in teacher evaluations (a controversial point among teachers), with four more states explicitly allowing but not requiring their use. But above all, the report may be best used as a quick reference for those trying to figure out what teacher evaluations look like in any one particular state.

Source: “State of the States 2013: Connect the Dots,” National Council on Teacher Quality

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.