Professional Development: Arizona

Retaining Effective Teachers Policy


The state should require professional development to be based on needs identified through teacher evaluations.

Meets a small part of goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Professional Development: Arizona results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of Arizona's policies

Arizona requires that teachers receive copies of their evaluations within five days after the evaluation has been completed. The state does not specify that professional development activities must be aligned with findings from teacher evaluations.


Recommendations for Arizona

Require that evaluation systems provide teachers with feedback about their performance.
Although Arizona requires teachers to receive copies of their evaluations, this only ensures that teachers will receive their ratings, not necessarily feedback on their performance. Arizona should specify that teachers should receive specific feedback on identified strengths and areas that need improvement.  

Ensure that professional development is aligned with findings from teachers' evaluations.
Professional development that is not informed by evaluation results may be of little value to teachers' professional growth and aim of increasing their effectiveness in the classroom. Arizona should ensure that districts utilize teacher evaluation results in determining professional development needs and activities.

State response to our analysis

Arizona asserted that according to a new code, the state board of education is responsible for adopting and maintaining a model framework for a teacher and principal evaluation instrument that includes quantitative data on student academic progress that accounts for between 33 per-cent and 50 per-cent of the evaluation outcomes and best practices for professional development and evaluator training on or before December 15, 2011. The state added that school districts and charter schools are required to "use an instrument that meets the data requirements established by the state board of education to annually evaluate individual teachers and principals beginning in school year 2012-2013."

Last word

NCTQ encourages the state to include in its model framework requirements that professional development be aligned with evaluation results. However, as districts are not required to use this model framework, the state should also consider adopting policy that ensures that all teachers will receive feedback on their performance, and that evaluation results inform professional development activities. 

Research rationale

For evidence of the benefits of feedback from evaluation systems, and the potential for professional development surrounding that feedback, see T. Kane et al, "Evaluating Teacher Effectiveness." Education Next. Vol 11, No. 3 (2011); E. Taylor and J. Tyler, "The Effect of Evaluation on Performance: Evidence from Longitudinal Student Achievement Data of Mid-Career Teachers." National Bureau of Economic Research (2011).

Much professional development, particularly those that are not aligned to specific feedback from teacher evaluations, has been found to be ineffective.  For evidence see M. Garet, "Middle School Mathematics Professional Development Impact Study: Findings After the Second Year of Implementation." Institute of Education Sciences (2011).

For additional evidence regarding best practices for professional development, see "The Deliver, Financing, and Assessment of Professional Development in Education: Pre-Service Preparation and In-Service Training." The Finance Project (2003).