The data and analysis on this page is from 2019. View and download the most recent policy data and analysis on Principal Evaluation and Observation in Massachusetts from the State of the States 2022: Teacher and Principal Evaluation Policies report.
The state should require annual evaluations with frequent observations of all principals. This goal was new in 2017.
Evaluation Frequency: Massachusetts requires all principals to be evaluated at least annually.
Observation/Site Visit Requirements: Massachusetts requires "observations and artifacts of professional practice, including unannounced observations of practice of any duration."
Evaluator Training: Massachusetts state policy requires evaluator training; however, the state does not require evaluator certification or a process that would ensure inter-rater reliability.
603 CMR 35.00
Require all principal evaluators to be both trained and certified.
All principal evaluators in Massachusetts should be trained and certified to conduct teacher evaluations on systems that include objective measures. Ensuring that all principals are appropriately trained and certified in conducting teacher evaluations will help ensure that all principals are able to provide their teachers with fair and valid evaluations.
Massachusetts recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state added that its Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) is committed to providing a comprehensive set of resources for districts. To that end, ESE has developed two comprehensive training programs that support educator evaluation implementation: Training Modules for Evaluators and Training Workshops for Teachers. These resources provide an overview of the statewide evaluation framework. Massachusetts noted that it believes it is best for districts to implement evaluation systems that are grounded in local context. Therefore, districts have the option to supplement or adapt these materials to align with local priorities and local evaluation systems.
Further, Massachusetts pointed out that it has expended a great number of resources to support calibration activities. "This type of professional learning helps both evaluators and educators norm their expectations and ensure that all educators experience a meaningful evaluation experience. Evaluators want to deliver high-quality, actionable feedback just as much as educators want to receive it. Calibrating expectations for educator practice and deepening collective knowledge of strategies that can help educators grow is integral to sustaining an evaluation process that will strengthen educator practice and improve student learning."
7H: Principal Evaluation and Observation
Research demonstrates that there is a clear link between school leadership and school outcomes. Principals foster school improvement by shaping school goals, policies and practices, and social and organizational structures. Principals vary significantly in their effectiveness, and research suggests that high-quality principals positively affect student achievement, in-school discipline, parents' perceptions of schools, and school climates. Further, principals affect teacher retention and recruitment; effective principals are more adept at retaining effective teachers and removing ineffective teachers. The time principals spend on organizational management, instructional programming, and teacher evaluation is critically important for positive effects on teachers and students. Because principals are an essential component of creating successful schools, their effectiveness should be regularly evaluated by trained evaluators on systems that include objective measures. Such systems will help to ensure that all principals receive the feedback and support necessary to improve their practice and, ultimately, student and school outcomes.