The data and analysis on this page is from 2019. View and download the most recent policy data and analysis on Frequency of Evaluation and Observation in Arkansas from the State of the States 2022: Teacher and Principal Evaluation Policies report.
The state should require annual evaluations of all teachers. The bar for this goal was raised in 2017.
Frequency of Evaluations: Arkansas requires that all teachers, even novice teachers, receive summative evaluations at least one time every four years.
Multiple Observations: Arkansas requires that all summative evaluations include observations. However, there is no guarantee that annual multiple observations will occur.
Feedback for New Teachers: Arkansas state policy does not include a requirement that new teachers be observed and receive feedback early in the year.
Rules https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?ik=41306729 Act 295 (2017)
Require annual formal evaluations for all teachers.
All teachers in Arkansas should be evaluated annually. Rather than treated as mere formalities, these teacher evaluations should serve as important tools for rewarding good teachers, helping average teachers improve and holding weak teachers accountable for poor performance.
Base evaluations on multiple observations.
To guarantee that annual evaluations are based on adequate information, Arkansas should require multiple observations for all teachers, even those who have nonprobationary status.
Ensure that new teachers are observed and receive feedback early in the school year.
It is critical that schools and districts closely monitor the performance of new teachers. Arkansas should ensure that its new teachers get the support they need, and that supervisors know early on which new teachers may be struggling or at risk for failing to meet minimum standards of performance.
Arkansas was helpful in providing NCTQ with the facts necessary for this analysis. The state added that teachers will receive evaluation feedback annually; however, it is transforming mentoring and support for educators. During the first three years, a novice teacher may, but is not required to receive a summative evaluation. Instead, the novice teacher will be surrounded with a multi-tiered system of support. Feedback will involve several components, including direct observations, indirect observations, data, and artifacts/ evidence. "Summative ratings will consider all of the above, and coaching observations with feedback will lead to excellence."
In a follow-up response, Arkansas noted that teachers must complete a professional growth plan on a yearly basis, and in that plan, teachers must demonstrate through evidence continuous growth and development.
7C: Frequency of Evaluation and Observation
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.