The state should require annual evaluations of all teachers.
The District of Columbia does not ensure that all teachers are evaluated annually.
The IMPACT system, district-level policy implemented by the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), requires that teachers are observed five 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.
The recently developed Teacher and Leader Evaluation Requirements articulate that Race to the Top LEAs must conduct annual evaluations of all teachers, and all other charter LEAs that receive federal funds must conduct "regular" evaluations, under the ESEA flexibility waiver.
Require annual formal evaluations for all teachers.
All teachers in the District of Columbia should be evaluated annually. Rather than treated as mere formalities, these teacher evaluations should serve as important tools for rewarding good teachers, helping average teachers improve and holding weak teachers accountable for poor performance.
Base evaluations on multiple observations.
To guarantee that annual evaluations are based on an adequate collection of 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 unacceptable levels of performance.
The District of Columbia asserted that LEAs must conduct annual observations.
LEAs are not explicitly required to conduct annual observations. According to the Teacher and Leader Evaluation Requirements, teacher evaluations must "include other measures of professional practice which may be gathered through multiple formats and sources, such as observations based on rigorous teacher performance standards, teacher portfolios, [and/or] student and parent surveys."
Annual evaluations are standard practice in most professional jobs.
Although there has been much progress on this front recently, about half of the states still do not mandate annual evaluations of teachers who have reached permanent or tenured status. The lack of regular evaluations is unique to the teaching profession and does little to advance the notion that teachers are professionals.
Further, teacher evaluations are too often treated as mere formalities rather than as important tools for rewarding good teachers, helping average teachers improve and holding weak teachers accountable for poor performance. State policy should reflect the importance of evaluations so that teachers and principals alike take their consequences seriously.
Evaluations are especially important for new teachers.
Individuals new to a profession frequently have reduced responsibilities coupled with increased oversight. As competencies are demonstrated, new responsibilities are added and supervision decreases. Such is seldom the case for new teachers, who generally have the same classroom responsibilities as veteran teachers, including responsibility for the academic progress of their students, but may receive limited feedback on their performance. 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.
The state should specifically require that districts observe new teachers early in the school year. This policy would help ensure that new teachers get the support they need early and that supervisors know from the beginning of the school year which new teachers (and which students) may be at risk. Subsequent observations provide important data about the teacher's ability to improve. Data from evaluations from the teacher's early years of teaching can then be used as part of the performance-based evidence to make a decision about tenure.
Frequency of Evaluations: Supporting Research
For the frequency of evaluations in government and private industry, see survey results from Hudson Employment Index's report: "Pay and Performance in America: 2005 Compensation and Benefits Report" Hudson Group (2005).
For research emphasizing the importance of evaluation and observations for new teachers in predicting future success and providing support for teachers see, D. Staiger and J. Rockoff, "Searching for Effective Teachers with Imperfect Information." Journal of Economic Perspectives. Volume 24, No. 3, Summer 2010, pp. 97-118.