Unsatisfactory Evaluations: Tennessee

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.

Meets goal in part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Unsatisfactory Evaluations: Tennessee results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/TN-Unsatisfactory-Evaluations-10

Analysis of Tennessee's policies

New legislation in Tennessee specifies that tenured teachers who receive two consecutive years of "below expectations" or "significantly below expectations" performance ratings are returned to probationary status. Once on probationary status, if the teacher receives two consecutive evaluations of "above expecations" or "significantly above expectations," then he or she is again eligible for tenure. If tenure is not granted, then the teacher "cannot be continued in employment."

Recommendations for Tennessee

Require that all teachers who receive unsatisfactory evaluations be placed on improvement plans.
Tennessee should adopt a policy requiring that teachers who receive even one unsatisfactory evaluation be placed on structured 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 and when progress will be measured.

Make clear to districts that dismissal is a consequence of unsatisfactory evaluations.
Tennessee's new policy is strong, but the state should consider adding clarifying language so that districts fully understand that reversion to probationary status makes a teacher eligible for dismissal.

State response to our analysis

Tennessee was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis.

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.