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 was reorganized in 2017.
Evaluation Feedback: Louisiana's evaluation system provides clear performance expectations and significant regular information on such performance to all teachers. In addition, a post-observation conference between teachers and evaluators is required to discuss "commendation and areas of improvement." Local districts must provide teachers with multiple opportunities for feedback throughout the academic year.
Professional Development: Louisiana requires local boards to provide targeted professional development to beginning and continuing teachers to "address deficiencies identified in the evaluation process."
Improvement Plans: Louisiana requires that teachers are given a professional growth plan "designed to assist each teacher and administrator in meeting the standards for effectiveness, effectively addressing the social, developmental, and emotional needs of students and maintaining a classroom environment that is conducive to learning." These plans are developed collaboratively between the teacher and the evaluator. Teachers rated ineffective are put on intensive assistance plans.
Evaluation Rating Categories: Louisiana requires a four-tiered rating system: highly effective; effective: proficient; effective: emerging; and ineffective.
Louisiana Revised Code 17:3902; 17:3881; 17:3885 Bulletin 130, http://bese.louisiana.gov/documents-resources/policies-bulletins
As a result of Louisiana's strong policy linking evaluation to professional growth policies, no recommendations are provided.
Louisiana 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.