Frequency of Evaluations: Oklahoma

2015 Identifying Effective Teachers Policy

Goal

The state should require annual evaluations of all teachers.

Nearly meets
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2015). Frequency of Evaluations: Oklahoma results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/OK-Frequency-of-Evaluations-71

Analysis of Oklahoma's policies

Oklahoma does not require annual evaluations for all of its teachers. 

Although the state articulates that every teacher must be evaluated once a year, it allows career teachers who receive a qualitative rating of superior or highly effective and a quantitative rating of superior or highly effective to be evaluated once every two years. 

Probationary teachers must receive formative feedback from the evaluation process at least two times per school year, once during the fall and once during the spring semester.

Citation

Recommendations for Oklahoma

Require annual formal evaluations for all teachers.
All teachers in Oklahoma should be evaluated annually, even those who receive high ratings on previous evaluations. Rather than treated as mere formalities, these teacher evaluations should serve as important tools for rewarding good teachers, helping average teachers improve and holding weak teachers accountable for poor performance. While the state may find it practical to reduce the number of observations for its highest-performing teachers, eliminating the evaluation completely denies these teachers feedback while also suggesting that an annual evaluation is punitive in nature.

Base evaluations on multiple observations.
To guarantee that annual evaluations are based on an adequate collection of information, Oklahoma should require multiple observations for all teachers, even those who have nonprobationary status. Further, as evaluation instruments become more data driven, it may not be feasible to issue multiple formal evaluation ratings during a single year.  Applicable student data will likely not be available to support multiple ratings.  

State response to our analysis

Oklahoma had no comment on this goal.

How we graded

Research rationale

Annual evaluations 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.