The data and analysis on this page is from 2019. View and download the most recent policy data and analysis on Frequency of Evaluation and Observation in District of Columbia from the State of the States 2022: Teacher and Principal Evaluation Policies report.
The state should require annual evaluations of all teachers. This goal remained consistent between 2017 and 2019.
Frequency of evaluations: The District of Columbia requires that all teachers be evaluated annually.
Multiple observations: The District of Columbia does not have a state policy regarding observation requirements. However, the IMPACT system, district-level policy implemented by DCPS, specifically requires that teachers are observed three times annually, with the first observation occurring during the first part of the school year. Each formal observation is followed by a conference to discuss ratings, feedback and steps for personal growth. Fewer observations are required as teachers move up the Leadership Initiative for Teachers career ladder by earning effective or highly effective ratings.
Feedback for new teachers: The District of Columbia's state policy does not include a requirement that new teachers be observed and receive feedback early in the year. However, the IMPACT system, district-level policy implemented by DCPS, specifically requires that teachers are observed three times annually, with the first observation occurring during the first part of the school year.
Base evaluations on multiple observations.
To guarantee that annual evaluations are based on adequate information, the District of Columbia 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. The District of Columbia 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.
The District of Columbia stated it requires that all teachers be evaluated annually. Additionally, the District noted that state policy requires LEAs to report data points based on guidelines mandated under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in compliance with the equitable access initiative that ensures low-income students and minorities are not disproportionally served by out-of-field, inexperienced, and ineffective teachers. The law does not set specific requirements for the various components of the teacher evaluation system. The state allows LEA autonomy and flexibility in this area.
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.