The data and analysis on this page is from 2019. View and download the most recent policy data and analysis on Principal Evaluation and Observation in California from the State of the States 2022: Teacher and Principal Evaluation Policies report.
The state should require annual evaluations with frequent observations of all principals. This goal remained consistent between 2017 and 2019.
Evaluation Frequency: California does not require annual evaluations for all principals. Principals in their first or second year in a new district will be evaluated annually. After that, "the governing board may determine the frequency at regular intervals of evaluations." Additionally, any evaluations conducted outside of the regular intervals "may be agreed upon by the evaluator and principal."
Observation/Site Visit Requirements: California does not require observations/site visits for the purposes of principal evaluation.
Evaluator Training: California does not include any training requirements in state policy.
Education Code 44670; 44671
Require annual formal evaluations for all principals.
All principals in California should be evaluated annually. Rather than treated as mere formalities, these principal evaluations should serve as important tools for rewarding good principals, helping average principals improve, and holding weak principals accountable for poor performance.
Require multiple observations/site visits for all principals.
To ensure that annual evaluations are based on adequate information, California should require multiple observations/site visits for all principals.
Require all principal evaluators to be both trained and certified.
All principal evaluators in California should be trained and certified to conduct principal evaluations on systems that include objective measures. Ensuring that all evaluators are appropriately trained and certified in conducting principal evaluations will help ensure that all evaluators are able to provide principals with fair and valid evaluations.
California did not respond to NCTQ's request to review this analysis for accuracy.
7H: Principal Evaluation and Observation
Research demonstrates that there is a clear link between school leadership and school outcomes. Principals foster school improvement by shaping school goals, policies and practices, and social and organizational structures. Principals vary significantly in their effectiveness, and research suggests that high-quality principals positively affect student achievement, in-school discipline, parents' perceptions of schools, and school climates. Further, principals affect teacher retention and recruitment; effective principals are more adept at retaining effective teachers and removing ineffective teachers. The time principals spend on organizational management, instructional programming, and teacher evaluation is critically important for positive effects on teachers and students. Because principals are an essential component of creating successful schools, their effectiveness should be regularly evaluated by trained evaluators on systems that include objective measures. Such systems will help to ensure that all principals receive the feedback and support necessary to improve their practice and, ultimately, student and school outcomes.