Professional Development: Tennessee

Retaining Effective Teachers Policy


The state should require professional development to be based on needs identified through teacher evaluations.

Meets goal in part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Professional Development: Tennessee results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of Tennessee's policies

Tennessee requires evaluation systems to include personal conferences to discuss teachers' strengths, weaknesses and remediation needs. While the state utilizes a Framework for Professional Evaluation and Growth, the state does not specify that professional development activities must be aligned with findings from teacher evaluations.


Recommendations for Tennessee

Ensure that professional development is aligned with findings from teacher 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. Tennessee should ensure that districts utilize teacher evaluation results in determining professional development needs and activities.

State response to our analysis

Tennessee noted that the state's role will be to provide districts with resources via the TAP (The System for Teacher and Student Advancement) Portal to help make connections between evaluations and professional development. The state will be clear in their guidance and support, which will include state-created guidance resources and the newly created state evaluation system.

Last word

The state should consider taking its policy a step further and codifying policy to ensure that districts use teacher evaluations to inform professional development activities.

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).