Professional Development: District of

Retaining Effective Teachers Policy


The state should require professional development to be based on needs identified through teacher evaluations.

Does not meet goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Professional Development: District of Columbia results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of District of Columbia's policies

Although the District of Columbia Public Schools' IMPACT evaluation system requires that professional development activities be informed by results from teacher evaluations, the District of Columbia does not have similar state-level policy.


Recommendations for District of Columbia

Require that evaluation systems provide teachers with feedback about their performance.
In order to increase their effectiveness in the classroom, teachers need to receive feedback on strengths and areas that need improvement identified in their evaluations. As such, the District of Columbia should adopt state-level policy requiring that evaluation systems provide teachers with feedback about their classroom performance.

Ensure that professional development is aligned with findings from teachers' evaluations.
Professional development that is not informed by evaluation results may be of little value to teachers' professional growth and aim of increasing their effectiveness in the classroom. The District of Columbia should adopt state-level policy to ensure that teacher evaluation results are used in determining professional development needs and activities.

State response to our analysis

The District of Columbia recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The District added that "Race to the Top LEAs are required to ensure that evaluation results inform professional development."

Last word

To make sure that the connection between evaluation results and professional development extends beyond the life of its Race to the Top grant, the District of Columbia should adopt formal policy requiring such.

Research rationale

For evidence of the benefits of feedback from evaluation systems, and the potential for professional development surrounding that feedback, see T. Kane et al, "Evaluating Teacher Effectiveness." Education Next. Vol 11, No. 3 (2011); E. Taylor and J. Tyler, "The Effect of Evaluation on Performance: Evidence from Longitudinal Student Achievement Data of Mid-Career Teachers." National Bureau of Economic Research (2011).

Much professional development, particularly those that are not aligned to specific feedback from teacher evaluations, has been found to be ineffective.  For evidence see M. Garet, "Middle School Mathematics Professional Development Impact Study: Findings After the Second Year of Implementation." Institute of Education Sciences (2011).

For additional evidence regarding best practices for professional development, see "The Deliver, Financing, and Assessment of Professional Development in Education: Pre-Service Preparation and In-Service Training." The Finance Project (2003).