Teacher and Principal Evaluation Policy
The state should require annual evaluations with frequent observations of all principals. This goal was new in 2017.
Evaluation frequency: The District of Columbia does not require annual evaluations for all principals.
Observation/site visit requirements: The District of Columbia does not require observations/site visits.
Evaluator training: The District of Columbia does not include any training requirements in District policy.
Require annual formal evaluations for all principals.
All principals in the District of Columbia should be evaluated annually. Rather than treated as mere formalities, these principal evaluations should serve as important tools for rewarding good principals, helping average principals improve, and holding weak principals accountable for poor performance.
Require multiple observations/site visits for all principals.
To ensure that annual evaluations are based on adequate information, the District of Columbia should require multiple observations/site visits for all principals.
Require all principal evaluators to be both trained and certified.
All principal evaluators in the District of Columbia should be trained and certified to conduct teacher evaluations on systems that include objective measures. Ensuring that all principals are appropriately trained and certified in conducting teacher evaluations will help ensure that all principals are able to provide their teachers with fair and valid evaluations.
The District of Columbia was helpful in providing NCTQ with the facts necessary for this analysis. The District asserted that it only mandates policies surrounding teacher and principal performance evaluations that are required under ESSA. Specifically, there are no federal guidelines that 1) set requirements for annual evaluation of principal and assistant principals, 2) set a minimum number of observations/site visits for the school-based administrator (principals and assistant principals), or 3) set requirements on evaluator training to "ensure inter-rater reliability among evaluators" in the performance evaluation process. District policy defers authority to the hiring districts and must allow them the autonomy and flexibility in these areas since no federal mandate exists.
7H: Principal Evaluation and Observation
Research demonstrates that there is a clear link between school leadership and school outcomes. Principals foster school improvement by shaping school goals, policies and practices, and social and organizational structures. Principals vary significantly in their effectiveness, and research suggests that high-quality principals positively affect student achievement, in-school discipline, parents' perceptions of schools, and school climates. Further, principals affect teacher retention and recruitment; effective principals are more adept at retaining effective teachers and removing ineffective teachers. The time principals spend on organizational management, instructional programming, and teacher evaluation is critically important for positive effects on teachers and students. Because principals are an essential component of creating successful schools, their effectiveness should be regularly evaluated by trained evaluators on systems that include objective measures. Such systems will help to ensure that all principals receive the feedback and support necessary to improve their practice and, ultimately, student and school outcomes.