Teacher and Principal Evaluation Policy
The state should require annual evaluations of all teachers. This goal remained consistent between 2017 and 2019.
Frequency of Evaluations: Connecticut requires all teachers to be evaluated annually.
Multiple Observations: Connecticut requires that first- and second-year teachers receive at least three formal observations. Two of these must include a preconference, and all three must include a postconference with timely and written feedback. All teachers who receive performance evaluation designations of below standard or developing must receive at least three formal observations, two with preconferences and all with postconferences that include timely and written feedback. All teachers who receive designations of proficient or exemplary must receive a combination of three formal observations/reviews of practice, one of which must be a formal observation. Alternatively, teachers who receive a designation of proficient or exemplary, who are not first-or second-year teachers, may be evaluated with a minimum of one formal in-class observation no less frequently than once every three years, and three informal in-class observations in all other years, and they shall complete one review of practice every year. Examples of reviews of practice include observations of data team meetings and review of lesson plans.
Feedback for New Teachers: Connecticut state policy does not include a requirement that new teachers be observed and receive feedback early in the year.
Connecticut Statute 10-151(b) Guidelines for Educator Evaluation: https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/SDE/Evaluation-and-Support/Guidelines_for_Educator_Evaluation_2017.pdf?la=en 2017 SEED Handbook https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/SDE/SEED/2017_SEED_Handbook.pdf?la=en
Base evaluations on multiple observations.
To guarantee that annual evaluations are based on adequate information, Connecticut should require multiple observations for all teachers. Although it may be practical to reduce the number of observations for the highest-performing teachers, Connecticut's requirement permits teachers with a proficient rating to have only one formal observation every three years, denying these teachers comprehensive feedback that can help them grow and excel.
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. Connecticut 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.
Connecticut indicated that the SEED Evaluation Model does not explicitly identify additional supports for first-year teachers because Connecticut has a state-mandated Teacher Education and Mentoring (TEAM) program. The program requires all new teachers to be paired with a TEAM-trained mentor to complete professional learning modules during their first two years of teaching. The state added that these required modules include Classroom Environment Planning, Instruction, Assessment, and Professional Ethics and Responsibilities and are completed in addition to, and are often informed by, the SEED Evaluation Model.
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.