The data and analysis on this page is from 2019. View and download the most recent policy data and analysis on Frequency of Evaluation and Observation in Michigan from the State of the States 2022: Teacher and Principal Evaluation Policies report.
The state should require annual evaluations of all teachers. The bar for this goal was raised in 2017.
Frequency of evaluations: Michigan requires that all teachers are evaluated annually. However, teachers who are rated highly effective on three consecutive evaluations may be evaluated biennially instead of annually.
Multiple observations: Michigan requires multiple observations. However, teachers who have received ratings of effective or highly effective on their two most recent year-end evaluations may forego multiple observations.
Feedback for new teachers: Michigan requires that teachers in their first year of the probationary period, and those who receive a rating of minimally effective or ineffective, receive a midyear progress report, which includes feedback from observations. Michigan does not include any further guidance on when observations should occur for other teachers.
The Revised School Code, section 380.1249
Require annual formal evaluations for all teachers.
All teachers in Michigan should be evaluated annually, even those who receive high ratings on previous evaluations. Rather than treated as mere formalities, these teacher evaluations should serve as important tools for rewarding good teachers, helping average teachers improve and holding weak teachers accountable for poor performance.
Base evaluations on multiple observations.
To guarantee that annual evaluations are based on adequate information, Michigan should require multiple observations for all teachers. Although it may be practical to reduce the number of observations for the highest-performing teachers, Michigan's requirement permits teachers with an effective rating to have only one observation, denying these teachers feedback that can help them grow and excel.
Ensure that new teachers are observed and receive feedback early in the school year.
Because it is critical that schools and districts closely monitor the performance of new teachers, Michigan should ensure that its new teachers get the support they need early, and that supervisors know from near the beginning of the school year which new teachers may be at risk for ineffective performance. The state's policy regarding the midyear progress report for first-year teachers is a step in the right direction, but Michigan should consider early feedback and support for the first few years that a teacher is in the classroom.
Michigan recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
7C: Frequency of Evaluation and Observation
Observations serve several purposes, including to provide actionable feedback to teachers and to provide a summative rating that can be used in staffing decisions. Observations can be a rich source of information for teachers, giving them useful feedback to improve their practice.
Multiple data sources should be used in teacher evaluation, including multiple observations by more than one observer. Teacher observations conducted by principals that occur once or twice a year and consist of rating teachers on observable behaviors and characteristics have not proved valid. Research widely finds that the nature of their role as both instructional leaders and summative judges inhibits principals' ability to reliably serve as evaluators. In contrast, observations conducted by peers and other observers with subject knowledge are valid and reliable. Additionally, teacher observations are more effective when they occur in tandem with aligned professional development.
Observations are especially important for new teachers. In the absence of good metrics for determining who will be an effective teacher before he or she begins to teach, it is critical that schools and districts closely monitor the performance of new teachers. States should specifically require that new teachers receive an observation early in the school year. Early feedback may be especially essential for new teachers, given that teachers' performance in their first year is a strong predictor of their performance in later years.
Student reports of teacher quality are a unique and largely untapped source of rich data. Research finds that student input on teacher quality adds value to teacher evaluation systems. Research also finds teachers prefer evaluation systems that include student survey data. Students' first-hand reports of classroom elements (e.g., textbooks, homework, instruction), teacher-student communication, assignments, and daily classroom operations may provide teachers with credible information about their impact in the classroom, as well as serve as a tool for formative evaluation. Student perceptions of learning environments can be reliable and predictive of learning. Including student surveys in teacher evaluation systems strengthens the ability to identify teachers' effects on outcomes beyond standardized test scores. In addition, teacher evaluation systems that include student survey data, which are somewhat correlated with teachers' student growth measures, are stronger, more reliable, and more valid than those that rely solely on administrator reports and observations.