Identifying Effective Teachers Policy
The state should require annual evaluations of all teachers.
Commendably, all teachers in Utah must be evaluated at least annually.
Nonprobationary teachers must be evaluated once a year. New teachers in Utah must be formally evaluated at least twice a year. The state's policy does not include any guidelines on when these evaluations should occur.
Utah Code 53A-10-106
Base evaluations on multiple observations.
To guarantee that annual evaluations are based on an adequate collection of information, Utah should require multiple observations for all teachers, even those who have nonprobationary status.
Ensure that new teachers are observed and receive feedback early in the school year.
It is critical that schools and districts closely monitor the performance of new teachers. Utah should ensure that its new teachers get the support they need and that supervisors know early on which new teachers may be struggling or at risk for unacceptable levels of performance. As evaluation instruments become more data driven, it will not be feasible to issue a formal evaluation rating until applicable student data are available later in the year.
Utah asserted that all district evaluation systems must include multiple measures, including student achievement data. The state added that its code outlines timelines for provisional evaluations as well as requires "a reasonable number of observation periods for an evaluation to ensure adequate reliability."
Rather than leave it up to the districts to determine a "reasonable" number of observations, the state should require multiple observations to ensure an adequate collection of information.
Further, Utah's summative evaluation timelines address notice prior to an evaluation and the allowable length of time for a post-evaluation discussion. It does not appear that the state specifically requires an evaluation for new teachers during the first part of the school year.