Unsatisfactory Evaluations

2011 Exiting Ineffective Teachers Policy

2011: Unsatisfactory Evaluations

The state should articulate consequences for teachers with unsatisfactory evaluations, including specifying that teachers with multiple unsatisfactory evaluations should be eligible for dismissal.

Best practices

Illinois and Oklahoma both require that teachers who receive unsatisfactory evaluations be placed on improvement plans. Teachers in Illinois are then evaluated three times during a 90-day remediation period and are eligible for dismissal if performance remains unsatisfactory. In addition, new legislation in Illinois allows districts to dismiss a teacher without going through the remediation process if that teacher has already completed a remediation plan but then receives an "unsatisfactory" rating within the next three years. Oklahoma's improvement plan may not exceed two months, and if performance does not improve during that time, teachers are eligible for dismissal.

Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Unsatisfactory Evaluations national results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/national/Unsatisfactory-Evaluations-10
Best practice 2


Meets goal 11


Nearly meets goal 6


Meets goal in part 13


Meets a small part of goal 5


Does not meet goal 14


Do states require districts to provide formal, substantive feedback to teachers?

Figure details

Yes. State requires that teachers receive formal, substantive feedback. : AR, CT, DE, GA, HI, IL, KY, LA, MA, MI, MO, MS, NC, NJ, NM, NY, OR, RI, SC, TN, TX, WA, WV, WY

No. State does not require formal, substantive feedback; however, teachers receive copies of their evaluations.: AK, AZ, CA, CO, FL, IN, KS, MD, NV, OH, OK

No. State does not require formal, substantive feedback.: AL, DC, IA, ID, ME, MT, ND, NE, NH, SD, VA, VT, WI

Do states require districts to use a specific system to evaluate teachers?

Figure details

Yes. Districts must use the state's evaluation system. : AL, AR, DE, GA, HI, LA, MS, NM, PA

No. Districts may either use the state's evaluation system or develop their own. : CO, IL, IN, ME, MI, OK, RI, SC, TN, TX

No. Districts design their own evaluation system based on specific criteria from the state. : AZ, CA, CT, FL, IA, ID, KY, MA, MD, MN, MO, NC, NE, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OR, UT, VA, WA, WI, WV, WY

Do states require that teacher evaluations inform teachers’ professional development?

Figure details

Yes. State requires that evaluations inform professional development for all teachers.: AR, CT, DE, FL, ID, LA, MI, MN, MO, NC, RI, SC, WY

Partially. State requires that evaluations inform professional development for teachers who earn unsatisfactory evaluation ratings. : CO, GA, IL, IN, TX

No. State does not require that evaluations inform professional development.: AK, AL, AZ, CA, DC, HI, IA, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MS, MT, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, SD, TN, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV

MS: Mississippi requires professional development based on evaluation results only for teachers in need of improvement in school identified as at-risk.

How we graded

Negative evaluations should have meaningful consequences.

Teacher evaluations are too often treated as mere formalities rather than as important tools for rewarding good teachers, helping average teachers to improve and holding weak teachers accountable for poor performance. State policy should reflect the importance of evaluations so that teachers and principals alike take their consequences seriously. Accordingly, states should articulate the consequences of negative evaluations. First, teachers that receive a negative evaluation should be placed on improvement plans. These plans should focus on performance areas that directly connect to student learning and should list noted deficiencies, define specific action steps necessary to address these deficiencies and describe how progress will be measured. While teachers that receive negative evaluations should receive support and additional training, opportunities to improve should not be unlimited. States should articulate policies wherein two negative evaluations within five years are sufficient justification for dismissal.

Employment status should not determine the consequences of a negative evaluation.

Differentiating consequences of a negative evaluation based on whether a teacher has probationary or nonprobationary status puts the interests of adults before those of students. Ideally, weaknesses and deficiencies would be identified and corrected during the probationary period; if the deficiencies were found to be insurmountable, the teacher would not be awarded permanent status. However, in the absence of meaningful tenure processes based on teacher effectiveness, limiting significant consequences to the probationary period is insufficient. Any teacher who receives a negative evaluation, regardless of employment status, should be placed on an improvement plan, and any teacher who receives multiple negative evaluations, regardless of employment status, should be eligible for dismissal.

Research rationale

To review the process and types of personnel evaluations observed in other job sectors, including the problems inherent to some evaluation systems see, for example, Gliddon, David (October 2004). Effective Performance Management Systems, Current Criticisms and New Ideas for Employee Evaluation in Performance Improvement 43(9), 27-36.

  • © 2018 National Council on Teacher Quality. All rights reserved.

  • 1440 G Street NW Ste. 8193, Washington, D.C., 20005

  • 202 393-0020