Professional Development: Louisiana

2011 Retaining Effective Teachers Policy


The state should require professional development to be based on needs identified through teacher evaluations.

Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Professional Development: Louisiana results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of Louisiana's policies

Louisiana's new evaluation system will provide clear performance expectations and significant regular information on such performance to all teachers. In addition, a post-observation conference between teachers and evaluators will be conducted to discuss "commendation and recommendations."

Louisiana requires local boards to provide targeted professional development to beginning and continuing teachers to "address deficiencies identified in the evaluation process." In addition, each teacher will be 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."


Recommendations for Louisiana

State response to our analysis

Louisiana was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis. The state also noted that the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) is expected to adopt policy providing regulations around the implementation of the new teacher and leader evaluation system in December 2011, including targeted professional growth opportunities.  

How we graded

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.  

Research rationale

For evidence of the benefits of feedback from evaluation systems, and the potential for professional development surrounding that feedback, see T. Kane et al, "Evaluating Teacher Effectiveness." Education Next. Vol 11, No. 3 (2011); E. Taylor and J. Tyler, "The Effect of Evaluation on Performance: Evidence from Longitudinal Student Achievement Data of Mid-Career Teachers." National Bureau of Economic Research (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, "Middle School Mathematics Professional Development Impact Study: Findings After the Second Year of Implementation." Institute of Education Sciences (2011).

For additional evidence regarding best practices for professional development, see "The Deliver, Financing, and Assessment of Professional Development in Education: Pre-Service Preparation and In-Service Training." The Finance Project (2003).