Unsatisfactory Evaluations: North Carolina

2011 Exiting Ineffective Teachers Policy


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

Nearly meets
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Unsatisfactory Evaluations: North Carolina results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/NC-Unsatisfactory-Evaluations-10

Analysis of North Carolina's policies

North Carolina requires local districts to place teachers who receive unsatisfactory evaluations on improvement plans. Teachers who are rated "developing" on one or more standards of the evaluation are placed in a "Monitored Growth Plan," while teachers who are rated "not demonstrated" on one or more standards or "developing" on one or more standards for two consecutive years are placed in a "Directed Growth Plan."

It is unclear whether additional consequences result from subsequent unsatisfactory evaluations, except for those teachers in low-performing schools. In such instance, the state gives the superintendent authority to dismiss teachers who receive just one negative rating.


Recommendations for North Carolina

Make eligibility for dismissal a consequence of unsatisfactory evaluations.
North Carolina is commended for requiring that all teachers who receive an unsatisfactory evaluation, regardless of whether they have tenure, be placed on an improvement plan. The state should extend its policy—which is currently restricted to teachers in low-performing schools—to make all teachers who receive two consecutive unsatisfactory evaluations or have two unsatisfactory evaluations within five years formally eligible for dismissal. 

State response to our analysis

North Carolina recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state added that during the 2011-2012 school year, the State Board of Education will determine the consequences for teachers in all schools who receive unsatisfactory evaluations. Consequences will include licensure removal and dismissal. North Carolina's Race to the Top proposal contains a reference to this policy.

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.