The data and analysis on this page is from 2019. View and download the most recent policy data and analysis on Frequency of Evaluation and Observation in South Carolina from the State of the States 2022: Teacher and Principal Evaluation Policies report.
The state should require annual evaluations of all teachers. The bar for this goal was raised in 2017.
Frequency of evaluations: South Carolina does not ensure that all teachers are evaluated annually. Frequency of evaluations depends on the contract status of the teacher. Induction contract teachers and annual contract teachers are evaluated each year. Continuing contract teachers are required to be evaluated on a "continuous basis" and are summatively evaluated during the recertification year. Although student growth data are collected annually, it appears that this is so that multiple years of growth may be utilized for the formal evaluation. Continuing contract teachers are not annually evaluated on evidence of student growth.
Multiple Observations: South Carolina requires that annual contract teachers receive at least one formal observation per semester. For continuing contract teachers, during the recertification year, at least one formal observation per semester is required.
Feedback for New Teachers: South Carolina requires that teachers on annual contracts receive feedback midyear.
ADEPT System Guidelines for 2018-2019 https://ed.sc.gov/scdoe/assets/File/educators/teacher-evaluations/20170313_ADEPT_Guidelines_FINAL_Edited.pdf
Require annual formal evaluations for all teachers.
All teachers in South Carolina should be evaluated annually. 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.
Base evaluations on multiple observations.
To guarantee that annual evaluations are based on adequate information, South Carolina should require multiple observations for all teachers.
South Carolina indicated that teachers set and reflect on growth goals (SLOs) and are observed (whether formally or informally) annually. Further, district representatives sign an assurance document with this language as part of the yearly evaluation plan: "By signing this document, you assure that your continuing contract teachers up for recertification in June 2018 will receive observations and feedback during school year 2017-18 (observations are not required to be summative). You also assure that you will observe your teachers (Induction, Annual, and Continuing) with an observation instrument with at minimum three effectiveness levels."
7C: Frequency of Evaluation and Observation
Observations serve several purposes, including to provide actionable feedback to teachers and to provide a summative rating that can be used in staffing decisions. Observations can be a rich source of information for teachers, giving them useful feedback to improve their practice.
Multiple data sources should be used in teacher evaluation, including multiple observations by more than one observer. Teacher observations conducted by principals that occur once or twice a year and consist of rating teachers on observable behaviors and characteristics have not proved valid. Research widely finds that the nature of their role as both instructional leaders and summative judges inhibits principals' ability to reliably serve as evaluators. In contrast, observations conducted by peers and other observers with subject knowledge are valid and reliable. Additionally, teacher observations are more effective when they occur in tandem with aligned professional development.
Observations are especially important for new teachers. 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. States should specifically require that new teachers receive an observation early in the school year. Early feedback may be especially essential for new teachers, given that teachers' performance in their first year is a strong predictor of their performance in later years.
Student reports of teacher quality are a unique and largely untapped source of rich data. Research finds that student input on teacher quality adds value to teacher evaluation systems. Research also finds teachers prefer evaluation systems that include student survey data. Students' first-hand reports of classroom elements (e.g., textbooks, homework, instruction), teacher-student communication, assignments, and daily classroom operations may provide teachers with credible information about their impact in the classroom, as well as serve as a tool for formative evaluation. Student perceptions of learning environments can be reliable and predictive of learning. Including student surveys in teacher evaluation systems strengthens the ability to identify teachers' effects on outcomes beyond standardized test scores. In addition, teacher evaluation systems that include student survey data, which are somewhat correlated with teachers' student growth measures, are stronger, more reliable, and more valid than those that rely solely on administrator reports and observations.