Teacher and Principal Evaluation Policy
The state should ensure that teachers receive feedback about their performance and should require professional development to be based on needs identified through teacher evaluations. This goal remained consistent between 2017 and 2019.
Evaluation Feedback: Colorado requires that teachers receive copies of their evaluations "at least two weeks before the last class day of the school year." The written evaluations are to be discussed by the teacher and the evaluator.
Professional Development: Colorado specifies that professional development activities be linked to a teacher's evaluation and performance standards.
Improvement Plans: Colorado requires that all evaluations, regardless of rating, include "what improvements, if any, are needed in the performance of the licensed personnel and shall clearly set forth recommendations for improvements, including recommendations for additional education and training." Remediation plans are developed for teachers who have been given a rating of less-than-effective.
Evaluation Rating Categories: Colorado requires that evaluations use the following four rating categories: highly effective, effective, partially effective and ineffective.
Colorado Revised Statutes 22-9-105.5, -106 1 Code of Colorado Regulations 301-87
As a result of Colorado's strong policy linking evaluation to professional growth policies, no recommendations are provided.
Colorado recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
7D: Linking Evaluation to Professional Growth
Professional development should be connected to needs identified through teacher evaluations. The goal of teacher evaluation systems should be not just to identify highly effective teachers and those who underperform but to help all teachers improve. Even highly effective teachers may have areas where they can continue to grow and develop their knowledge and skills. Rigorous evaluations should provide actionable feedback on teachers' strengths and weaknesses that can form the basis of professional development activities. Too often professional development is random rather than targeted to the identified needs of individual teachers. Failure to make the connection between evaluations and professional development squanders the likelihood that professional development will be meaningful.
Many states are only explicit about tying professional development plans to evaluation results if the evaluation results are bad. Good evaluations with meaningful feedback should be useful to all teachers, and if done right should help design professional development plans for all teachers—not just those who receive poor ratings.
To further increase the utility and validity of evaluation systems, states should require that evaluation instruments differentiate among various levels of teacher performance rather than only giving binary satisfactory/unsatisfactory ratings. Binary rating systems often offer little meaning because virtually all teachers receive satisfactory ratings. More rating categories allow for more nuanced distinctions between levels of teacher performance.