Frequency of Evaluations

2011 Identifying Effective Teachers Policy

2011 Goals for Frequency of Evaluations

The state should require annual evaluations of all teachers.

Best practices

Although not awarding "best practice" honors for frequency of evaluations, NCTQ commends all nine states that meet this goal not only by requiring annual evaluations for all teachers, but also for ensuring that new teachers are observed and receive feedback during the first half of the school year. 

Best practice 0

States

Meets goal 9

States

Nearly meets goal 13

States

Meets goal in part 9

States

Meets a small part of goal 2

States

Does not meet goal 18

States

Do states require districts to evaluate all teachers each year?

2011
Figure details

Yes: AL, AZ, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, ID, IN, LA, NC, ND, NJ, NV, NY, OK, PA, RI, TN, UT, WA, WY

No : AK, AR, CA, DC, HI, IA, IL, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NE, NH, NM, OH, OR, SC, SD, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV

Do states require districts to observe new teachers early in the school year?

2011
Figure details

Yes : AL, ID, IN, KS, KY, MD, MN, ND, NE, NJ, NV, OH, OK, RI, SC, TN, WA, WV

No : AK, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, IL, LA, MA, ME, MI, MO, MS, MT, NC, NH, NM, NY, OR, PA, SD, TX, UT, VA, VT, WI, WY

How we graded

Annual evaluations are standard practice in most professional jobs.

Although there has been much progress on this front recently, about half of the states still do not mandate annual evaluations of teachers who have reached permanent or tenured status. The lack of regular evaluations is unique to the teaching profession and does little to advance the notion that teachers are professionals.

Further, teacher evaluations are too often treated as mere formalities rather than as important tools for rewarding good teachers, helping average teachers 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.

Evaluations are especially important for new teachers.

Individuals new to a profession frequently have reduced responsibilities coupled with increased oversight. As competencies are demonstrated, new responsibilities are added and supervision decreases. Such is seldom the case for new teachers, who generally have the same classroom responsibilities as veteran teachers, including responsibility for the academic progress of their students, but may receive limited feedback on their performance. 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.

The state should specifically require that districts observe new teachers early in the school year. This policy would help ensure that new teachers get the support they need early and that supervisors know from the beginning of the school year which new teachers (and which students) may be at risk. Subsequent observations provide important data about the teacher's ability to improve. Data from evaluations from the teacher's early years of teaching can then be used as part of the performance-based evidence to make a decision about tenure.

Research rationale

For the frequency of evaluations in government and private industry, see survey results from Hudson Employment Index's report: "Pay and Performance in America: 2005 Compensation and Benefits Report" Hudson Highlands Group (2005).

For research emphasizing the importance of evaluation and observations for new teachers in predicting future success and providing support for teachers see, D. Staiger and J. Rockoff, "Searching for Effective Teachers with Imperfect Information." The Journal of Economic Perspectives. (24:3) American Economic Association (2010).

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