Professional Development: Ohio

2011 Retaining Effective Teachers Policy

Goal

The state should require professional development to be based on needs identified through teacher evaluations.

Meets a small part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Professional Development: Ohio results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/OH-Professional-Development-9

Analysis of Ohio's policies

Ohio requires that teachers receive written reports of their evaluation results; however, the state does not specify that professional development activities must be aligned with findings from teacher evaluations. 

SB 5, which included policy that related to this goal, was repealed by referendum in November 2011.

Citation

Recommendations for Ohio

Require that evaluation systems provide teachers with feedback about their performance.
Ohio requires that teachers receive written reports of their evaluation rresults; it would follow that this report would include feedback on identified strengths and areas that need improvement. The state should consider strengthening its language so as to clearly establish that the report includes more than just the teacher's ratings.

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 aim of increasing their effectiveness in the classroom. Ohio should ensure that districts utilize teacher evaluation results in determining professional development needs and activities.

State response to our analysis

Ohio asserted that schools and districts participating in Race to the Top (RttT) are required to annually submit professional development plans that align with school and district RttT goals. The state noted that as part of this plan, schools and districts must also provide evidence of the impact of professional learning on both participant and student outcomes. A process for submission, review and credentialing of professional development plans has been established and will be used when professional development plans are submitted to the state by October 28, 2011.

The state added that the model includes two components that address professional development and improvement of performance: growth plan and improvement plan. The growth plan is completed collaboratively between teacher and evaluator. It includes identification of areas of strength and areas for growth and specific resources and outcomes for professional development. The improvement plan identifies specific areas in the summative evaluation that are ineffective and creates a written plan to support the teacher: desired level of performance, resources, evidence of progress, timeline and professional development. 

Last word

While putting such requirements in the state's Race to the Top plan is a step in the right direction, NCTQ encourages Ohio to codify these requirements to ensure that districts provide teachers with feedback on their performance and that professional development activities aligned with the evaluation results are more than just suggestions. Further, codification of these requirements will ensure that they extend beyond the life of Ohio's Race to the Top grant.

How we graded

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.  

Research rationale

For evidence of the benefits of feedback from evaluation systems, and the potential for professional development surrounding that feedback, see T. Kane et al, "Evaluating Teacher Effectiveness." Education Next. Vol 11, No. 3 (2011); E. Taylor and J. Tyler, "The Effect of Evaluation on Performance: Evidence from Longitudinal Student Achievement Data of Mid-Career Teachers." National Bureau of Economic Research (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, "Middle School Mathematics Professional Development Impact Study: Findings After the Second Year of Implementation." Institute of Education Sciences (2011).

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