Frequency of Evaluations : Pennsylvania

Identifying Effective Teachers Policy


The state should require annual evaluations of all teachers.

Nearly meets goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Frequency of Evaluations : Pennsylvania results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of Pennsylvania's policies

Commendably, all teachers in Pennsylvania must be evaluated at least annually. 

Nonprobationary teachers must be evaluated once a year. New teachers in Pennsylvania must be formally evaluated twice a year. However, the state's policy does not include any guidelines on when these evaluations should occur.


Recommendations for Pennsylvania

Base evaluations on multiple observations.
To guarantee that annual evaluations are based on an adequate collection of information, Pennsylvania should require multiple observations for all teachers, even those who have nonprobationary status. 

Ensure that new teachers are observed and receive feedback early in the school year.
It is critical that schools and districts closely monitor the performance of new teachers. Pennsylvania should ensure that its new teachers get the support they need and that supervisors know early on which new teachers may be struggling or at risk for unacceptable levels of performance. As evaluation instruments become more data driven, it will not be feasible to issue a formal evaluation rating until applicable student data are available later in the year.

State response to our analysis

Pennsylvania recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

Research rationale

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 Highlands 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." The Journal of Economic Perspectives. (24:3) American Economic Association (2010).