Retaining Effective Teachers 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.
Kentucky requires that teachers receive feedback from their evaluations during a formative evaluation conference between the evaluator and the teacher, as well as a summative evaluation conference at the end of the evaluation cycle. The conferences must include all evaluation data.
The state also specifies that the evaluation system must include a professional growth plan for all teachers that is aligned with "specific goals and objectives of the school improvement plan or the district improvement plan." Professional growth plans must include goals determined by the evaluator that address professional practice and/or student growth.
Teachers whose professional practice rating is ineffective with a low overall student growth rating must be placed on an improvement plan, which may last up to one year.
704 KAR 3:370
Ensure that teachers receiving less than
effective ratings are placed on an improvement plan.
Kentucky should strengthen its policy and require an improvement plan for any teacher whose performance is in need of improvement, not just those in the lowest performance category.
Kentucky recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state added that it will continually work to improve the system and review recommendations from the Teacher Effectiveness Steering Committee.
development should be connected to needs identified through teacher
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.
Professional Development: Supporting Research
For evidence of the benefits of feedback from evaluation systems, and the potential for professional development surrounding that feedback, see T. Kane, E. Taylor, J. Tyler, and A. Wooten, "Evaluating Teacher Effectiveness." Education Next, Volume 11, No. 3, Summer 2011; E. Taylor and J. Tyler, "The Effect of Evaluation on Performance: Evidence from Longitudinal Student Achievement Data of Mid-Career Teachers," NBER Working Paper No. 16877, March 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, A. Wayne, F. Stancavage, J. Taylor, M. Eaton, K. Walters, M. Song, S. Brown, S. Hurlburt, P. Zhu, S. Sepanik, F. Doolittle, and E. Warner, "Middle School Mathematics Professional Development Impact Study: Findings After the Second Year of Implementation." Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, May 2011, NCEE 2011-4024.
For additional evidence regarding best practices for professional development, see K. Neville and C. Robinson, "The Delivery, Financing, and Assessment of Professional Development in Education: Pre-Service Preparation and In-Service Training" The Finance Project, 2003.