Teacher and Principal Evaluation Policy
The state should ensure that teacher evaluations are well-structured to appropriately assess professional practice. This goal remained consistent between 2017 and 2019.
Observations: Indiana requires that all teachers are observed in the classroom.
Use of Surveys: Indiana state policy is silent on whether surveys must be used to evaluate teachers.
Evaluator Training: Indiana requires teacher evaluators to be trained; however, it does not further require certification or a process to ensure inter-rater reliability.
Multiple and/or Third-party Observers: Indiana state policy is silent on whether multiple and/or third-party observers must be used to evaluate teachers. Indiana defines the term "evaluator" to include a teacher who: 1) has demonstrated effective teaching over several years, 2) is approved to evaluate, and 3) conducts evaluations as a significant part of his or her responsibilities.
Indiana Code 20-28-11.5 511 IAC 10-6-3
Require student surveys.
Indiana should require—or at least explicitly allow—the use of student surveys as a meaningful component of a teacher evaluation system. Student surveys provide teachers with credible information about their impact in the classroom and help identify teachers' effects on outcomes beyond standardized test scores.
Require all teacher evaluators to be both trained and certified.
Indiana should require classroom evaluators to be trained to a high level of reliability through ongoing training and an explicit certification process. Doing so will help ensure that teacher evaluation systems are fairly and reliably implemented across districts and the state.
Require the use of multiple observers or third-party observers with subject-matter expertise.
Indiana should require that teachers are observed multiple times by more than one observer. Research demonstrates that observations by peers and other observers with subject-matter knowledge are valid and reliable, whereas a principal's role as both instructional leader and summative judge may inhibit his or her ability to reliably serve as the sole evaluator.
Indiana provided state codes describing the training required of evaluators, which indicates that individuals "responsible for collecting evidence toward summative evaluations must be provided with training on how to collect and analyze evidence." Further, "a school corporation must incorporate mechanisms to assess evaluators' improvement in collecting and using evidence."
Although Indiana is commended for requiring training for its evaluators, there is no requirement that evaluators be certified or that training ensures inter-rater reliability.
7B: Measures of Professional Practice
Observations serve several purposes, including to provide actionable feedback to teachers and to provide a summative rating that can be used in staffing decisions. Observations can be a rich source of information for teachers, giving them useful feedback to improve their practice.
Multiple data sources should be used in teacher evaluation, including multiple observations by more than one observer. Teacher observations conducted by principals that occur once or twice a year and consist of rating teachers on observable behaviors and characteristics have not proved valid. Research widely finds that the nature of their role as both instructional leaders and summative judges inhibits principals' ability to reliably serve as evaluators. In contrast, observations conducted by peers and other observers with subject knowledge are valid and reliable. Additionally, teacher observations are more effective when they occur in tandem with aligned professional development.
Observations are especially important for new teachers. 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. States should specifically require that new teachers receive an observation early in the school year. Early feedback may be especially essential for new teachers, given that teachers' performance in their first year is a strong predictor of their performance in later years.
Student reports of teacher quality are a unique and largely untapped source of rich data. Research finds that student input on teacher quality adds value to teacher evaluation systems. Research also finds teachers prefer evaluation systems that include student survey data. Students' first-hand reports of classroom elements (e.g., textbooks, homework, instruction), teacher-student communication, assignments, and daily classroom operations may provide teachers with credible information about their impact in the classroom, as well as serve as a tool for formative evaluation. Student perceptions of learning environments can be reliable and predictive of learning. Including student surveys in teacher evaluation systems strengthens the ability to identify teachers' effects on outcomes beyond standardized test scores. In addition, teacher evaluation systems that include student survey data, which are somewhat correlated with teachers' student growth measures, are stronger, more reliable, and more valid than those that rely solely on administrator reports and observations.