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: Idaho requires that state-approved evaluation systems include the method through which results of evaluations will be communicated to teachers.
Professional Development: Idaho does not specifically link professional development requirements to evaluation results.
Improvement Plans: Idaho requires all teachers to have Individualized Professional Learning Plans (IPLP) based on their evaluation results.
Evaluation Rating Categories: Idaho requires at least three rating categories: proficient, basic and unsatisfactory.
IDAPA 08.02.02.120, -.07
Require that evaluation systems provide teachers with feedback about their performance.
Although Idaho requires that results of evaluations are communicated to teachers, this only ensures that teachers will receive their ratings, not necessarily that they will receive feedback on their performance. Idaho should specify that teachers should receive specific feedback on identified strengths and areas that need improvement.
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 the aim of increasing their effectiveness in the classroom. Idaho should ensure that districts utilize teacher evaluation results in determining professional development needs and activities.
Idaho recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
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.