Frequency of Evaluations : Utah

Identifying Effective Teachers Policy

Goal

The state should require annual evaluations of all teachers.

Nearly meets
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Frequency of Evaluations : Utah results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/UT-Frequency-of-Evaluations--8

Analysis of Utah's policies

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.

Citation

Recommendations for Utah

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.

State response to our analysis

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." 

Last word

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. 

Research rationale

For the frequency of evaluations in government and private industry, see survey results from Hudson Employment Index's report: "Pay and Performance in America: 2005 Compensation and Benefits Report" Hudson Highlands Group (2005).

For research emphasizing the importance of evaluation and observations for new teachers in predicting future success and providing support for teachers see, D. Staiger and J. Rockoff, "Searching for Effective Teachers with Imperfect Information." The Journal of Economic Perspectives. (24:3) American Economic Association (2010).