Professional Development: Mississippi

Retaining Effective Teachers Policy

Goal

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

Meets in part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Professional Development: Mississippi results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/MS-Professional-Development-9

Analysis of Mississippi's policies

Mississippi requires that each teacher has a post-appraisal conference with his or her evaluator to discuss strengths and areas that need improvement based on observations.

The state only specifies that professional development plans will be provided for teachers in Schools At-Risk that have been identified as needing improvement based on receiving an unsatisfactory evaluation. The professional development plan will "be based on each teacher's specific needs and teaching assignment."  

Citation

Recommendations for Mississippi

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 aim of increasing their effectiveness in the classroom. While the state's focus on teachers in need of improvement in low performing schools is commendable, Mississippi should ensure that districts use teacher evaluation results in determining professional development needs and activities for all teachers.

State response to our analysis

Mississippi recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state noted that the new evaluation system that it is developing "will afford all teachers the opportunity to receive professional development based on the evaluation results."

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).