The data and analysis on this page is from 2019. View and download the most recent policy data and analysis on Principal Evaluation and Observation in Pennsylvania from the State of the States 2022: Teacher and Principal Evaluation Policies report.
The state should require annual evaluations with frequent observations of all principals. This goal was new in 2017.
Evaluation Frequency: Pennsylvania only requires that tenured principals are evaluated annually; nontenured principals are evaluated semiannually.
Observation/Site Visit Requirements: Pennsylvania does not require observations; they are explicitly allowed. "The rating of a Principal/School Leader for effectiveness in leadership practice shall be based on observation or other supervisory methods."
Evaluator Training: Pennsylvania does not include any training requirements in state policy.
Require annual formal evaluations for all principals.
All principals in Pennsylvania should be evaluated annually. Rather than treated as mere formalities, these principal evaluations should serve as important tools for rewarding good principals, helping average principals improve, and holding weak principals accountable for poor performance.
Require multiple observations/site visits for all principals.
To ensure that annual evaluations are based on adequate information, Pennsylvania should require multiple observations/site visits for all principals.
Require all principal evaluators to be both trained and certified.
All principal evaluators in Pennsylvania should be trained and certified to conduct teacher evaluations on systems that include objective measures. Ensuring that all principals are appropriately trained and certified in conducting teacher evaluations will help ensure that all principals are able to provide their teachers with fair and valid evaluations.
Pennsylvania recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state added that a temporary professional employee, who serves as building principal or assistant principal, receives a performance evaluation at least twice a year.
7H: Principal Evaluation and Observation
Research demonstrates that there is a clear link between school leadership and school outcomes. Principals foster school improvement by shaping school goals, policies and practices, and social and organizational structures. Principals vary significantly in their effectiveness, and research suggests that high-quality principals positively affect student achievement, in-school discipline, parents' perceptions of schools, and school climates. Further, principals affect teacher retention and recruitment; effective principals are more adept at retaining effective teachers and removing ineffective teachers. The time principals spend on organizational management, instructional programming, and teacher evaluation is critically important for positive effects on teachers and students. Because principals are an essential component of creating successful schools, their effectiveness should be regularly evaluated by trained evaluators on systems that include objective measures. Such systems will help to ensure that all principals receive the feedback and support necessary to improve their practice and, ultimately, student and school outcomes.