Identifying Effective Teachers Policy
The state should require annual evaluations of all teachers.
As of September 1, 2011, all teachers in Michigan must be evaluated annually. However, the state's new evaluation regulation stipulates that teachers who are rated highly effective on three consecutive evaluations may be evaluated biennially instead of annually.
Michigan also articulates that, as part of any teacher evaluation, multiple observations must be conducted. However, the state allows teachers who have received ratings of effective or highly effective on their two most recent year-end evaluations to forego multiple observations.
Further, the state does not include guidance on when these observations should occur for new teachers.
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. While the state may eventually determine that teachers receiving a highly effective rating are such exceptionally high performers that an annual evaluation is not warranted, such policy is, at best, premature.
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. As evaluation instruments become more data driven, states should hold off on a formal evaluation rating until applicable student data are available later in the year.
Michigan recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.