Unsatisfactory Evaluations: South Carolina

2011 Exiting Ineffective Teachers Policy


The state should articulate consequences for teachers with unsatisfactory evaluations, including specifying that teachers with multiple unsatisfactory evaluations should be eligible for dismissal.

Nearly meets
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Unsatisfactory Evaluations: South Carolina results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/SC-Unsatisfactory-Evaluations-10

Analysis of South Carolina's policies

South Carolina requires that all teachers who receive an unsatisfactory rating on any domain of the formal evaluation be placed on an improvement plan. The state also stipulates that an annual contract teacher who has not successfully met formal evaluation criteria "will have his or her teaching certificate automatically suspended by the State Board of Education" and is ineligible for employment as a classroom teacher for a minimum of two years. To re-enter as an annual contract teacher, he or she must "complete a state-approved remediation plan" in areas of identified deficiencies. Upon completion of this requirement, the teacher is eligible for employment under an annual contract for one additional year to continue toward the next contract level.


Recommendations for South Carolina

Make dismissal a consequence of unsatisfactory evaluations for all teachers.
South Carolina should extend its policy regarding unsatisfactory evaluations to apply to all teachers, not just those on annual contracts. Any teacher who receives two consecutive unsatisfactory evaluations or two unsatisfactory evaluations within five years should be formally eligible for dismissal.

State response to our analysis

South Carolina recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

How we graded

Negative evaluations should have meaningful consequences.

Teacher evaluations are too often treated as mere formalities rather than as important tools for rewarding good teachers, helping average teachers to improve and holding weak teachers accountable for poor performance. State policy should reflect the importance of evaluations so that teachers and principals alike take their consequences seriously. Accordingly, states should articulate the consequences of negative evaluations. First, teachers that receive a negative evaluation should be placed on improvement plans. These plans should focus on performance areas that directly connect to student learning and should list noted deficiencies, define specific action steps necessary to address these deficiencies and describe how progress will be measured. While teachers that receive negative evaluations should receive support and additional training, opportunities to improve should not be unlimited. States should articulate policies wherein two negative evaluations within five years are sufficient justification for dismissal.

Employment status should not determine the consequences of a negative evaluation.

Differentiating consequences of a negative evaluation based on whether a teacher has probationary or nonprobationary status puts the interests of adults before those of students. Ideally, weaknesses and deficiencies would be identified and corrected during the probationary period; if the deficiencies were found to be insurmountable, the teacher would not be awarded permanent status. However, in the absence of meaningful tenure processes based on teacher effectiveness, limiting significant consequences to the probationary period is insufficient. Any teacher who receives a negative evaluation, regardless of employment status, should be placed on an improvement plan, and any teacher who receives multiple negative evaluations, regardless of employment status, should be eligible for dismissal.

Research rationale

To review the process and types of personnel evaluations observed in other job sectors, including the problems inherent to some evaluation systems see, for example, Gliddon, David (October 2004). Effective Performance Management Systems, Current Criticisms and New Ideas for Employee Evaluation in Performance Improvement 43(9), 27-36.