Do states require all teachers to be observed?
Yes: AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MA, MD, MI, MN, MS, NV, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WV, WI
No: DC, MO, MT, NE, NH, ND, VT, WY
AL 2x/observation cycle for non-probationary teachers
AZ Non-probationary teachers: Second classroom observation may be waived for a continuing teacher whose teaching performance based on the first classroom observation places the teacher in one of the two highest performance classifications for the current school year, unless the teacher requests a second observation.
AR Non-probationary teachers: Observations are required as part of summative evaluations; however, summative evaluations must only occur 1x/4 years. Novice teachers are exempt from evaluations.
CT First- and second-year teachers & those with below standard or developing ratings: 3 formal observations Those with proficient or exemplary ratings: 3 formal observations/reviews of practice, one of which must be a formal observation. Those with proficient or exemplary ratings who are not first-or second-year teachers: 1 formal in-class observation no less frequently than once every 3 years, and 3 informal in-class observations in all other years.
DE New system (DTGSS) will be fully operational in SY 2022-23.
GA Non-probationary teachers: Six observations (4 walkthroughs & 2 formative) OR two observations for those rated proficient or exemplary for the previous year. Probationary teachers: 4 walkthroughs & 2 formative
HI Non-probationary teachers: If on-cycle: one observation. If off-cycle: Zero observations. If rated less than effective: 2 Probationary teachers: 0-4 semesters: two observations. 5-6 semesters: One observation All teachers: For SY 2021-22, classroom observations are "highly encouraged" but not required, due to the pandemic. Artifacts of Instructional Practice may continue to be used in lieu of observations this year.
IL Non-probationary teachers: Tenured teachers who receive a rating of needs improvement or unsatisfactory: 3x/academic year (2 must be formal) All other tenured teachers 2x/ observation cycle (1 formal). Probationary teachers: 3x/academic year (2 must be formal)
KS Non-probationary teachers: Year 5+: 1x/3 years Probationary teachers: Years 1&2: 2x/year Years 3&4: 1x/year
KY Non-probationary teachers: At least 1x every 3yrs
ME "Must occur throughout the year"
MD Non-probationary: In the first year of the cycle, both professional practice and student growth are evaluated. If highly effective or effective, then the second- and third-year evaluations use the professional practice rating from the previous year, and student growth is based on the most recent data. A teacher may request a new review of professional practice along with student growth.
MI For teachers who have received ratings of effective or highly effective on their two most recent year-end evaluations; all others are observed 2x/academic year.
NE Only probationary teachers are required to "be evaluated at least once each semester."
NV Non-probationary teachers: One evaluation every other year based on one observation if rated highly effective for two consecutive years. One evaluation per year based on one observation if rated effective. One evaluation per year based on three observations if rated developing or ineffective. Probationary teachers: in their first year of teaching, one evaluation per year based on three observations. If the previous rating was effective or highly effective, one evaluation per year based on two observations. If previous two consecutive ratings were effective or highly effective, one evaluation per year based on one observation.
NJ Teachers rated ineffective or partially effective are placed on a Corrective Action Plan (CAP), requiring one additional observation.
NM Three formal observations and one walkthrough per academic year Additionally guidance for the 2021-2022 school year indicates the following observation schedule: Level I teachers--2 observations ( one in fall, one in spring) Level II and III teachers--1 observation (either fall or spring).
OH Accomplished/Skilled teachers: two formal observations plus two walkthroughs during evaluation year, at least one formal evaluation during off years All other teachers two formal observations plus two walkthroughs each academic year.
OR Only probationary teachers are required to have at least two observations per academic year.
SC Continuing contract teachers-Summative Evaluation: Two observations per semester. Continuing contract teachers-Comprehensive Evaluation: at least one observation the first semester. Annual or Continuing contract teachers-Goals Based Evaluation: Observations are encouraged but not required. Observations are not required for annual contract teachers that opt for a Goals Based Evaluation.
TN Professional License: Rated level 1-Three formal observations Levels 2-4-Two formal observations Level 5-One formal observation, 2 walk-throughs. Probationary teachers: Those scoring 5 on the overall evaluation or growth score must be observed once during the first semester, with two walkthroughs during the second semester.
UT State requires "multiple supervisor observations at appropriate intervals," but does not specify an exact number.
VT State's Guidelines for Teacher and Leader Effectiveness are recommendations, not requirements.
WV Non-probationary teachers: Teachers in Intermediate Progression: 2x/ academic year Teachers in Advanced Progression: may request an observation(s). Probationary teachers: Teachers within their first three years of teaching are designated as in Initial Progression for purposes of the evaluation system.
WI Wisconsin does not have a tenure policy and does not define probationary teachers, the state does distinguish evaluation frequency based on years of experience. Teachers with more than one year of experience follow the observation schedule below: Summary Year: 1 announced observation or 3-4 unannounced "mini" observations. If a teacher opts for 3-4 mini observations in lieu of 1 formal observation then they must have a total of 5-6 mini observations. Supporting year: 1 unannounced observation. Teachers in their first year of teaching must have an evaluation with at least one announced observation and 3-4 unannounced observations
Do states facilitate the use of student surveys in teacher evaluations?
Yes. State policy requires student surveys.: AL, HI, IA, MA, UT
Yes. State policy explicitly allows student surveys.: AK, AR, CO, CT, DC, FL, ID, KS, MN, MS, MO, NV, NM, NC, OH, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, VT, VA, WA, WI
No. State policy explicitly prohibits student surveys.: NY
No. State policy is silent on student surveys.: AZ, CA, DE, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, ME, MD, MI, MT, NE, NH, NJ, ND, OK, RI, TX, WV, WY
AL Parents and/or students
CT Student feedback is allowed for up to an additional 5% of a teacher's overall rating.
DE New system (DTGSS) will be fully operational in SY 2022-23.
HI Student surveys are part of the core professionalism score, which accounts for 20% of the overall score.
MS The most recently posted guidebook (2019-2020) says future measures will include student surveys (to be implemented in SY 2020-21); however, there is no indication that this has occurred.
VT State's Guidelines for Teacher and Leader Effectiveness are recommendations, not requirements.
VA Surveys are allowed but are used for informational purposes only.
Updated: November 2022
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Observations serve several purposes, including to provide actionable feedback to teachers and to provide a summative rating that can be used in staffing decisions. Observations can be a rich source of information for teachers, giving them useful feedback to improve their practice.
Multiple data sources should be used in teacher evaluation, including multiple observations by more than one observer. Teacher observations conducted by principals that occur once or twice a year and consist of rating teachers on observable behaviors and characteristics have not proved valid. Research widely finds that the nature of their role as both instructional leaders and summative judges inhibits principals' ability to reliably serve as evaluators. In contrast, observations conducted by peers and other observers with subject knowledge are valid and reliable. Additionally, teacher observations are more effective when they occur in tandem with aligned professional development.
Observations are especially important for new teachers. In the absence of good metrics for determining who will be an effective teacher before he or she begins to teach, it is critical that schools and districts closely monitor the performance of new teachers. States should specifically require that new teachers receive an observation early in the school year. Early feedback may be especially essential for new teachers, given that teachers' performance in their first year is a strong predictor of their performance in later years.
Student reports of teacher quality are a unique and largely untapped source of rich data. Research finds that student input on teacher quality adds value to teacher evaluation systems. Research also finds teachers prefer evaluation systems that include student survey data. Students' first-hand reports of classroom elements (e.g., textbooks, homework, instruction), teacher-student communication, assignments, and daily classroom operations may provide teachers with credible information about their impact in the classroom, as well as serve as a tool for formative evaluation. Student perceptions of learning environments can be reliable and predictive of learning. Including student surveys in teacher evaluation systems strengthens the ability to identify teachers' effects on outcomes beyond standardized test scores. In addition, teacher evaluation systems that include student survey data, which are somewhat correlated with teachers' student growth measures, are stronger, more reliable, and more valid than those that rely solely on administrator reports and observations.
 Glass, G. V. (1974). A review of three methods determining teacher effectiveness. In H. J. Walberg (Ed.), Evaluating Educational Performance (pp. 11-32). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.; Travers, R. M. W. (1981). Criteria of good teaching. In J. Millman (Ed.), Handbook of Teacher Evaluation (pp. 14-22). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.; Xu, S. & Sinclair, R. L. (2002). Improving teacher evaluation for increasing student learning. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the AERA, New Orleans, LA.
 Peterson, K. D. (2004). Research on school teacher evaluation. NASSP Bulletin, 88(639), 60-79.; The New Teacher Project. (2009). The widget effect: Our national failure to acknowledge and act on differences in teacher effectiveness. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED515656.pdf&sa=D&ust=1508185360843000&usg=AFQjCNG_FOzv9usICvWem-xNf0Ny71KcMg; Ellet, C. D. & Teddlie, C. (2003). Teacher evaluation, teacher effectiveness, and school effectiveness: Perspectives from the USA. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 17(1), 101-128.; Good, T. L., & Mulryan, C. (1990). Teacher ratings: A call for teacher control and self-evaluation. In J. Millman & L. Darling-Hammond (Eds.) The new teacher handbook of teacher evaluation: Assessing elementary and secondary school teachers. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.; Darling-Hammond, L. (1986). A proposal for evaluation in the teaching profession. The Elementary School Journal, 86(4), 530-551.; Hazi, H. M., & Arredondo Rucinski, D. (2009). Teacher evaluation as a policy target for improved learning: A fifty-state review of statute and regulatory action since NCLB. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 17(5).; Jacob, B. A., & Lefgren, L. (2008). Can principals identify effective teachers? Evidence on subject performance evaluation in education. Journal of Labor Economics, 26(1), 101-136.; Peterson, K. D. (2000). Teacher evaluation: A comprehensive guide to new directions and practices (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press.; Stiggins, R. J., & Bridgeford, N. J. (1985). Performance assessment for teacher development. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 7(1), 85-97.
 Jordan School District (1995). Jordan Performance Appraisal System. Sandy, UT: Jordan School District, Utah.; Lortie, D. (1975). Schoolteacher: A sociological study. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.; Waller, W. (1932). The sociology of teaching. New York, NY: Wiley & Sons.; Popham, W. J. (1988). The dysfunctional marriage of formative and summative teacher evaluation. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 1(3), 269-273.; Hunter, M. (1988). Effecting a reconciliation between supervision and evaluation: A reply to Popham. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 1(3), 275-79.; Ellett, C .D. (1987). Emerging teacher performance assessment practices: Implications for the instructional supervision role of school principals. In W. Greenfeld (Ed.), Instructional leadership: Concepts, issues, and controversies (pp. 302-327). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.; Scriven, M. (1988). Duty-based teacher evaluation. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 1(4), 319-334.; Stronge, J. H., Helm, V. M., & Tucker, P. D. (1995). Evaluation handbook for professional support personnel. Michigan: CREATE, The Evaluation Center, 1-91.; Cook, M. A., & Richards, H. C. (1972). Dimensions of principal and supervisor ratings of teacher behavior. Journal of Experimental Education, 41(2), 11-14.
 Peterson, K. (2004). Research on school teacher evaluation. NASSP Bulletin, 88(639), 60-79.; Hill, H., & Grossman, P. (2013). Learning from teacher observations: Challenges and opportunities posed by new teacher evaluation systems. Harvard Educational Review, 83(2), 371-384.
 Shaha, S. H., Glassett, K. F., & Copas, A. (2015). The impact of teacher observations with coordinated professional development on student performance: A 27-state program evaluation. Journal of College Teaching & Learning, 12(1), 55.
 For a review on limited data on new teachers, see: Chingos, M. M., & Peterson, P. E. (2011). It's easier to pick a good teacher than to train one: Familiar and new results on the correlates of teacher effectiveness. Economics of Education Review, 30(3), 449-465.
 Staiger, D. O., & Rockoff, J. E. (2010). Searching for effective teachers with imperfect information. The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 24(3), 97-117.
 Atteberry, A., Loeb, S., & Wyckoff, J. (2015). Do first impressions matter? Predicting early career teacher effectiveness. AERA Open, 1(4), 1-23.
 Aleamoni, L. M. (1999). Student rating myths versus research facts from 1924 to 1998. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 13, 153-166.; Peterson, K.D. (2000). Teacher evaluation: A comprehensive guide to new directions and practices. (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
 Peterson, K. D., Wahlquist, C., & Bone, K. (2000). Student surveys for school teacher evaluation. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 14(2), 135-153.; Peterson, K. D. (2004). Research on school teacher evaluation. NASSP Bulletin, 88(639), 60-79.; Stronge, J., & Ostrander, L. (1997). Client surveys in teacher evaluation. In J. H. Stronge (Ed.), Evaluating teaching: A guide to current thinking and best practice (pp. 129-161). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
 Peterson, K. D., Wahlquist, C., & Bone, K. (2000). Student surveys for school teacher evaluation. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 14(2), 135-153.; Aleamoni, L. M. (1981). Student ratings of instruction. In J. Millman (Ed.), Handbook of teacher evaluation (pp. 110-145). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.; Aleamoni, L. M. (1987). Student rating myths versus research facts. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 1, 111-119.; Aleamoni, L. M. (1999). Student rating myths versus research facts from 1924 to 1998. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 13, 153-166.; McGreal, T. L. (1983). Successful teacher evaluation. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.; Peterson, K. D., Stevens, D., & Driscoll, A. (1990). Primary grade student reports for teacher evaluation. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 4, 165-173.; Wallace, T. L., Kelcey, B., & Ruzek, E. (2016). What can student perception surveys tell us about teaching? Empirically testing the underlying structure of the Tripod student perception survey. American Educational Research Journal, 53(6), 1834-1868.
 Fauth, B., Decristan, J., Rieser, S., Klieme, E., & Büttner, G. (2014). Student ratings of teaching quality in primary school: Dimensions and prediction of student outcomes. Learning and Instruction, 29, 1-9.; Wagner, W., Gollner, R., Helmke, A., Trautwein, U., & Ludtke, O. (2013). Construct validity of student perceptions of instructional quality is high, but not perfect: Dimensionality and generalizability of domain-independent assessments. Learning and Instruction, 28, 1-11.; Kane, T. J., & Cantrell, S. (2010). Learning about teaching: Initial findings from the measures of effective teaching project. Seattle, WA: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
 Kane, T. J., McCaffrey, D. F., Miller, T., & Staiger, D. O. (2013). Have we identified effective teachers? Validating measures of effective teaching using random assignment. MET Project. Seattle, WA: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
 Wallace, T. L., Kelcey, B., & Ruzek, E. (2016). What can student perception surveys tell us about teaching? Empirically testing the underlying structure of the Tripod student perception survey. American Educational Research Journal, 53(6), 1834-1868.
 Peterson, K. D., & Stevens, D. (1988). Student reports for school teacher evaluation. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 1, 259-267.; Stronge, J., & Ostrander, L. (1997). Client surveys in teacher evaluation. In J. H. Stronge (Ed.), Evaluating teaching: A guide to current thinking and best practice (pp. 129-161). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.