Unsatisfactory Evaluations: Mississippi

2011 Exiting Ineffective Teachers Policy

Goal

The state should articulate consequences for teachers with unsatisfactory evaluations, including specifying that teachers with multiple unsatisfactory evaluations should be eligible for dismissal.

Meets in part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Unsatisfactory Evaluations: Mississippi results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/MS-Unsatisfactory-Evaluations-10

Analysis of Mississippi's policies

Mississippi has a policy addressing unsatisfactory evaluations only for teachers in "Schools At-Risk" that have been identified as needing improvement. A School At-Risk designation is based on performance according to annual yearly growth targets and the percentage of students performing below grade level. Mississippi requires that teachers identified as needing improvement in such schools be placed on a professional development plan. If, after one year, a teacher receives a second unsatisfactory evaluation, the plan is adjusted and re-implemented. If the teacher still receives an unsatisfactory evaluation after the second year, then the teacher is eligible for dismissal.

Citation

Recommendations for Mississippi

Require that all teachers who receive unsatisfactory evaluations be placed on improvement plans.
Mississippi is commended for requiring that in schools identified for improvement, teachers who receive an unsatisfactory evaluation, regardless of whether they have tenure, be placed on an improvement plan and for making dismissal a consequence of unsatisfactory evaluations. However, the state should consider applying this policy to teachers in all schools throughout the state.

State response to our analysis

Mississippi recognized the accuracy of this analysis. The state added that it is currently in the process of validating an evaluation system that links student performance with teacher effectiveness. This system has been in the process of development throughout the 2010-2011school year and will be piloted in the 2011-2012 school year. The Mississippi Department of Education will post a website in the future.

Last word

NCTQ looks forward to reviewing Mississippi's progress in future editions of the Yearbook.

How we graded

Negative evaluations should have meaningful consequences.

Teacher evaluations are too often treated as mere formalities rather than as important tools for rewarding good teachers, helping average teachers to improve and holding weak teachers accountable for poor performance. State policy should reflect the importance of evaluations so that teachers and principals alike take their consequences seriously. Accordingly, states should articulate the consequences of negative evaluations. First, teachers that receive a negative evaluation should be placed on improvement plans. These plans should focus on performance areas that directly connect to student learning and should list noted deficiencies, define specific action steps necessary to address these deficiencies and describe how progress will be measured. While teachers that receive negative evaluations should receive support and additional training, opportunities to improve should not be unlimited. States should articulate policies wherein two negative evaluations within five years are sufficient justification for dismissal.

Employment status should not determine the consequences of a negative evaluation.

Differentiating consequences of a negative evaluation based on whether a teacher has probationary or nonprobationary status puts the interests of adults before those of students. Ideally, weaknesses and deficiencies would be identified and corrected during the probationary period; if the deficiencies were found to be insurmountable, the teacher would not be awarded permanent status. However, in the absence of meaningful tenure processes based on teacher effectiveness, limiting significant consequences to the probationary period is insufficient. Any teacher who receives a negative evaluation, regardless of employment status, should be placed on an improvement plan, and any teacher who receives multiple negative evaluations, regardless of employment status, should be eligible for dismissal.

Research rationale

To review the process and types of personnel evaluations observed in other job sectors, including the problems inherent to some evaluation systems see, for example, Gliddon, David (October 2004). Effective Performance Management Systems, Current Criticisms and New Ideas for Employee Evaluation in Performance Improvement 43(9), 27-36.