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 remained consistent between 2017 and 2019.
Evaluation feedback: Missouri's evaluation framework requires "regular and meaningful feedback to all educators for the improvement of practice."
Professional development: Missouri does not connect professional development to teachers' evaluations.
Improvement plans: Missouri requires that teachers consistently rated less-than-effective "receive targeted interventions and support to encourage ongoing formative development."
Evaluation rating categories: Missouri requires multiple performance rating levels.
5 CSR 20-400.375 Educator Evaluation System http://dese.mo.gov/educator-quality/educator-effectiveness/educator-evaluation-system
Ensure that professional development is aligned with findings from teachers' evaluations.
Professional development that is not informed by evaluation results may be of little value to teachers' professional growth and the aim of increasing their effectiveness in the classroom. Missouri should ensure that districts utilize teacher evaluation results in determining professional development needs and activities.
Ensure that teachers receiving less-than-effective ratings are placed on a professional improvement plan.
Missouri should strengthen its policy and require that teachers who receive even one less-than-effective evaluation rating are placed on structured improvement plans.
Missouri 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.