Education Funding Opinion

The State of Teacher Evaluation: Part 1

By Emily Douglas-McNab — January 26, 2012 1 min read
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Evaluation is by far the hottest topic in education at the moment. Every (and I mean every) conversation I have about schools with a person outside of the education community eventually circles around to how best to gauge the performance of teachers and principals. Likewise, every district talent manager or other education leader I run into wants to discuss the state educator evaluations.

Questions like, “What is a good teacher worth?”, “How many times should someone be evaluated in a year?”, “Should teachers have tenure?”, “What types of measures should be used to look at total performance”, and “Can we fire our way to Finland?” headline blogs by educators and non-educators alike. There has been so much written and points of view shared on the subject in recent months, it is difficult to keep track of it all. What I do know are facts about what has been going on across the country related to teacher evaluations.

The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) published a comprehensive report in October 2011 called, “State of the States: Trends and Early Lessons on Teacher Evaluation and Effectiveness Policies,” which summarizes a great deal of research on the status of state educator evaluation policies across the country, including:

• Between 2009 and 2011, 33 states made changes to their teacher evaluation policies.

• In 2009, only 15 states required annual evaluations of ALL teachers. As of 2011, 24 states (and Washington, D.C. Public Schools) require annual reviews for all teachers.
• In 2009, only four states were in some way (definitions vary) using student performance data (value-added or other growth measures) to assess teachers’ impact. As of 2011, 23 states require “objective evidence of student learning in the form of student growth and/or value-added data.”
• Two states (as of October 2011) had implemented statewide evaluation systems: Louisiana and Delaware.

At the time the NCTQ’s State of the States report was published, Alaska, California, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, and West Virginia had not made policy changes related to teacher evaluation.

Tomorrow I will show you where those 17 states are at in this process now. Make sure to check back as the information is pretty amazing.

The opinions expressed in K-12 Talent Manager are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.