Frequency of Evaluations : California

Identifying Effective Teachers Policy


The state should require annual evaluations of all teachers.

Does not meet goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Frequency of Evaluations : California results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of California's policies

Regrettably, California does not ensure that all teachers are evaluated annually.

Once teachers attain "permanent status" in California, they must be evaluated at least every other year. Teachers who have been employed by the district for at least 10 years may be evaluated only once every five years if they are highly qualified, and if the evaluator and certificated employee agree. 

New teachers in California must be formally evaluated once a year. However, the state's policy does not include any guidelines on when these evaluations should occur.


Recommendations for California

Require annual formal evaluations for all teachers.
All teachers in California should be evaluated annually, regardless of their employment history. 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 an adequate collection of information, California 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. California 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 unacceptable levels of performance.

State response to our analysis

California recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

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).