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: Connecticut evaluation guidelines require an end-of-year conference to discuss all evidence collected to date. "The state further requires that teachers receive feedback from their evaluations that is clear, specific, and constructive.
Professional Development: Connecticut specifies that professional development activities for teachers must be directly informed by student performance and be linked to teacher evaluation goals.
Improvement Plans: Connecticut requires that teachers who are rated developing or below standard are placed on improvement and remediation plans. These plans are developed collaboratively with the district, teacher and a teacher's bargaining representative.
Evaluation Rating Categories: Connecticut requires that evaluations include the following four performance ratings: exemplary, proficient, developing, and below standard.
Connecticut Statute 10-148a(b)(4) 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
As a result of Connecticut's strong policy linking evaluation to professional growth policies, no recommendations are provided.
With regard to professional development, Connecticut stated that, while the above statement is accurate, it does not capture the additional Goal Setting Meeting and Mid-Year Conference meetings that occur between the educator and their primary evaluator. The state added that the goal-setting meeting is an important driver for the teacher evaluation process, as well as the mid-year conference where educators and evaluators alike can adjust goal targets based on relevant feedback and data.
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.