The state should require that tenure decisions are based on evidence of teacher effectiveness. This goal remains unchanged in 2021.
Link to Evidence of Effectiveness: Indiana requires a probationary teacher to receive evaluation ratings of either effective or highly effective for three years over a five-year period in order to become a professional teacher, thus earning nonprobationary status. Further, a professional teacher in Indiana reverts to probationary status after receiving an ineffective evaluation rating.
Basis for Tenure: Indiana's evaluation policy no longer requires that student growth be factored into a teacher's score; therefore, there is no assurance that classroom effectiveness will be considered.
Indiana Code 20-28-6-7.5
Ensure that tenure decisions are based on evidence of effectiveness.
Indiana should make cumulative evidence of effectiveness, rather than number of years in the classroom, the basis for awarding teachers the leap in professional standing that tenure represents.
Indiana recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis; however, this analysis was updated subsequent to the state's review.
Tenure should be a significant and consequential milestone in a teacher's career. The decision to give teachers tenure (or permanent status) is usually made automatically, with little thought, deliberation or consideration of actual performance. State policy should reflect the fact that initial certification is temporary and probationary, and that tenure is intended to be a significant reward for teachers who have consistently shown effectiveness and commitment. Tenure and advanced certification are not rights implied by the conferring of an initial teaching certificate. No other profession, including higher education, offers practitioners tenure after only a few years of working in the field.
States should also ensure that evidence of effectiveness is the preponderant (but not the only) criterion for making tenure decisions. Most states confer tenure at a point that is too early for the collection of sufficient and adequate data that reflect teacher performance. Ideally, states would accumulate such data for four to five years. This robust data set would prevent effective teachers from being unfairly denied tenure based on too little data and ineffective teachers from being granted tenure.