The data and analysis on this page is from 2019. View and download the most recent policy data and analysis on Principal Evaluation and Observation in Illinois from the State of the States 2022: Teacher and Principal Evaluation Policies report.
The state should require annual evaluations with frequent observations of all principals. This goal remained consistent between 2017 and 2019.
Evaluation Frequency: Illinois requires that principals on single-year contracts are evaluated annually. For principals on multi-year contracts, Illinois requires that evaluations must take place during the final year of the contract.
Observation/Site Visit Requirements: Illinois requires a minimum of two formal observations for all principals. Evaluators must observe school practices and may directly observe "the principal's … interactions and activities during his or her work day."
Evaluator Training: Illinois requires evaluators to have "completed the prequalification process and any retraining, as applicable." Evaluators must also pass the state-developed assessments specific to evaluation.
Require annual formal evaluations for all principals.
All principals in Illinois 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.
Illinois recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
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.