Professional Development: Oregon

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: Oregon results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/OR-Professional-Development-9

Analysis of Oregon's policies

Oregon requires that teachers discuss the results of their evaluations in "post-evaluation interviews." The state does not specify that professional development activities must be aligned with findings from teacher evaluations.

Citation

Recommendations for Oregon

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. Oregon should ensure that districts utilize teacher evaluation results in determining professional development needs and activities.

Require that evaluation systems provide teachers with feedback about their performance.
Oregon requires teachers to discuss their evaluation results with the evaluator; it would follow that this discussion would include feedback on identified strengths and areas that need improvement.  The state should consider strengthening its language so this is clearly established to ensure that this interview is more than just a discussion of the teacher's ratings.

State response to our analysis

Oregon recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state added that SB 290 from the 2011 legislative session requires that the State Board of Education adopt model core teaching standards by January 2012. Teacher evaluations must use the core teaching standards as a basis for performance evaluation and support the professional growth plans offered to teachers and administrators. The model core teaching standards will provide the foundation for consistent teacher evaluation criteria and teacher professional growth and development throughout a teacher's career.

Oregon also noted that SB 252 provides a grant program to improve student achievement through the collaboration of teachers and administrators to design and implement voluntary approaches to evaluation, career pathways, enhanced professional development and compensation models. 

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).