Professional Development: Ohio

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.

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

Analysis of Ohio's policies

Ohio requires that teachers receive written reports of their evaluation results. A final review and conference is considered best practice but is not required. 

The state requires evaluation systems to provide for "professional development to accelerate and continue teacher growth and provide support to poorly performing teachers." Teachers with average or higher growth are placed on professional growth plans; those with less than average growth are placed on improvement plans. 

Citation

Recommendations for Ohio

Require that evaluation systems provide teachers with feedback about their performance. 
Although Ohio requires teachers to receive copies of their evaluations, this only ensures that teachers will receive their ratings, not necessarily feedback on their performance. Ohio should specify that teachers should receive specific feedback on identified strengths and areas that need improvement.  

State response to our analysis

Ohio was helpful in providing NCTQ with the facts necessary for this analysis. The state asserted that as a local control state, its schools and districts decide how to use evaluation ratings to drive professional development based on identified needs. Ohio further noted that it provides technical assistance to districts. For example, Ohio Department of Education staff provide training entitled Using Ohio Teacher Evaluation Data to Inform Professional Learning via conferences, workshops in districts, Educational Service Centers or consortium groups. The training addresses individual teacher evaluation and professional development as well as school-level trends in evaluation data and using that to plan professional development.

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.