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 was reorganized in 2017.
Evaluation Feedback: Oklahoma requires that its evaluation system provides feedback to "improve student learning and outcomes." This is in addition to the requirement that teachers must receive copies of their evaluations upon completion.
Professional Development: Oklahoma does not specify that professional development activities must be aligned with findings from teacher evaluations.
Improvement Plans: Oklahoma requires comprehensive remediation plans and instructional coaching for all teachers who receive ratings of needs improvement or ineffective.
Evaluation Rating Categories: Oklahoma requires five rating categories: superior, highly effective, effective, needs improvement and ineffective.
Oklahoma Statute Section 70-6-101.11, -.16
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. Oklahoma should ensure that districts utilize teacher evaluation results in determining professional development needs and activities.
Oklahoma indicated that its Professional Learning Focus (PL Focus) component of its evaluation system will be piloted during school year 2017-2018, with full implementation slated for school year 2018-2019.
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.