2015 Identifying Effective Teachers Policy
The state should require annual evaluations of all teachers.
All teachers in Nevada must be evaluated annually.
New legislation now requires that nonprobationary teachers in Nevada be evaluated once a year. Those who receive a minimally effective or ineffective evaluation rating must be observed three times the next school year, with a schedule similar to that of probationary teachers outlined below. Nonprobationary teachers who receive effective or highly effective ratings must receive one observation, which must occur within the first 120 days of school.
New legislation also now requires that probationary teachers in Nevada be evaluated annually. Evaluations for teachers in their first year of teaching must be based on three observations. The first scheduled observation must occur within the first 40 days of instruction; the second must occur after 40 but within 80 days of the first day of instruction; and the third must occur after 80 but within 120 days after the first day of instruction. If a probationary teacher is rated effective or highly effective during the first year, then the evaluation during the second year must be based on two observations, with one occurring during the first half of the school year. If a probationary teacher is rated effective or highly effective during the first two years, then the evaluation during the third year must be based on one observation, which must occur within the first 120 days of school. Probationary teachers rated minimally effective or ineffective must receive an annual evaluation based on three observations.
AB 447 (2015)
Base evaluations on multiple observations.
To guarantee that annual evaluations are based on an adequate collection of information, Nevada should require multiple observations for all teachers, even those who have nonprobationary status as well as probationary teachers who are rated effective. Although NCTQ appreciates the state's effort to streamline its observation schedules, Nevada's new policy allowing effective probationary teachers to be observed only once a year could potentially result in a great number of teachers who could still grow and improve, receiving feedback only once a year.
Ensure that all probationary teachers are observed and receive feedback early in the school year.
Nevada is encouraged to ensure that all probationary teachers, even those who are rated effective in their first two years of teaching, receive feedback during the first half of the school year.
are standard practice in most professional jobs.
Although there has been much progress on this front recently, about half of the states still do not mandate annual evaluations of teachers who have reached permanent or tenured status. The lack of regular evaluations is unique to the teaching profession and does little to advance the notion that teachers are professionals.
Further, teacher evaluations are too often treated as mere formalities rather than as important tools for rewarding good teachers, helping average teachers 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.
Evaluations are especially important for new teachers.
Individuals new to a profession frequently have reduced responsibilities coupled with increased oversight. As competencies are demonstrated, new responsibilities are added and supervision decreases. Such is seldom the case for new teachers, who generally have the same classroom responsibilities as veteran teachers, including responsibility for the academic progress of their students, but may receive limited feedback on their performance. In the absence of good metrics for determining who will be an effective teacher before he or she begins to teach, it is critical that schools and districts closely monitor the performance of new teachers.
The state should specifically require that districts observe new teachers early in the school year. This policy would help ensure that new teachers get the support they need early and that supervisors know from the beginning of the school year which new teachers (and which students) may be at risk. Subsequent observations provide important data about the teacher's ability to improve. Data from evaluations from the teacher's early years of teaching can then be used as part of the performance-based evidence to make a decision about tenure.
Frequency of Evaluations: Supporting Research
For the frequency of evaluations in government and private industry, see survey results from Hudson Employment Index's report: "Pay and Performance in America: 2005 Compensation and Benefits Report" Hudson Group (2005).
For research emphasizing the importance of evaluation and observations for new teachers in predicting future success and providing support for teachers see, D. Staiger and J. Rockoff, "Searching for Effective Teachers with Imperfect Information." Journal of Economic Perspectives. Volume 24, No. 3, Summer 2010, pp. 97-118.