Professional Development: North Carolina

2015 Retaining Effective Teachers Policy

Goal

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.

Meets
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2015). Professional Development: North Carolina results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/NC-Professional-Development-72

Analysis of North Carolina's policies

North Carolina requires that teachers are provided with feedback following a classroom observation and at the end of the school year in the summary evaluation conference. During the summary evaluation conference, the principal and teacher discuss "the teacher's self-assessment, the teacher's most recent Professional Growth Plan, the components of the North Carolina Teacher Evaluation Process completed during the year, classroom observations, artifacts submitted or collected during the evaluation process and other evidence of the teacher's performance on the Rubric." 

North Carolina also connects professional development to teacher evaluation results. Teachers who are rated at least proficient must develop individual growth plans designed to improve performance on specific standards and elements. Teachers rated developing who are not recommended for dismissal must be placed on monitored growth plans; they are given one year to achieve proficiency. Teachers rated not demonstrated and those rated developing for two consecutive years, and who are not recommended for dismissal are placed on directed growth plans and given one year or less to achieve proficiency. 

Citation

Recommendations for North Carolina

As a result of North Carolina‚Äôs strong professional development policies, no recommendations are provided.

State response to our analysis

North Carolina recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. 

How we graded

Research rationale

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. 

Professional Development: Supporting Research
For evidence of the benefits of feedback from evaluation systems, and the potential for professional development surrounding that feedback, see T. Kane, E. Taylor, J. Tyler, and A. Wooten, "Evaluating Teacher Effectiveness." Education Next, Volume 11, No. 3, Summer 2011; E. Taylor and J. Tyler, "The Effect of Evaluation on Performance: Evidence from Longitudinal Student Achievement Data of Mid-Career Teachers," NBER Working Paper No. 16877, March 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, A. Wayne, F. Stancavage, J. Taylor, M. Eaton, K. Walters, M. Song, S. Brown, S. Hurlburt,  P. Zhu, S. Sepanik, F. Doolittle,  and E. Warner, "Middle School Mathematics Professional Development Impact Study: Findings After the Second Year of Implementation." Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, May 2011, NCEE 2011-4024.

For additional evidence regarding best practices for professional development, see K. Neville and C. Robinson, "The Delivery, Financing, and Assessment of Professional Development in Education: Pre-Service Preparation and In-Service Training" The Finance Project, 2003.