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: New Hampshire does not have state-level policy requiring that teachers
receive feedback from their evaluations. New Hampshire's Task Force on Effective Teaching outlines a model system that would require teachers to "receive regular and meaningful formative feedback in order to improve their performance."
Professional Development: New Hampshire does not have state policy that requires districts to connect professional development to teachers' evaluations. The model system (mentioned above) would connect professional development programs to the evaluation systems.
Improvement Plan: New Hampshire does not require that teachers who earn poor ratings are placed on improvement plans. The model system would require that any teacher rated ineffective or needs improvement be supported by a directed professional growth (improvement) plan.
Evaluation Rating Categories: New Hampshire does not require more than two rating categories. The model system would require multiple rating categories.
The New Hampshire Task Force of Effective Teaching: Phase II http://education.nh.gov/teaching/documents/phase2report.pdf
Require that evaluation systems provide teachers with feedback about their performance.
New Hampshire should require that evaluation systems provide teachers with adequate feedback about strengths and areas that need improvement identified in their evaluations.
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. New Hampshire 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.
New Hampshire should adopt a policy requiring that teachers who receive even one unsatisfactory evaluation are placed on structured improvement plans. These plans should focus on performance areas that directly connect to student learning and should identify noted deficiencies, define specific action steps necessary to address these deficiencies, and describe how and when progress will be measured.
Utilize rating categories that meaningfully differentiate among various levels of teacher performance.
To ensure that the evaluation instrument accurately differentiates among levels of teacher performance, New Hampshire should require districts to utilize multiple rating categories, such as highly effective, effective, needs improvement and ineffective. A binary system that merely categorizes teachers as satisfactory or unsatisfactory is inadequate.
New Hampshire asserted that its administrative rule Ed 513 speaks to the requirement for ongoing professional development for continued educator licensure.
New Hampshire's rule requires a professional development master plan to include: "the role of the plan in increasing educator effectiveness and the relationship between professional learning and the local evaluation system." The state should strengthen its policy and require districts to use teacher evaluation results in determining professional development plans.
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.