2011 Retaining Effective Teachers Policy
The state should require professional development to be based on needs identified through teacher evaluations.
New legislation in Utah stipulates that data gathered from evaluation tools "may be considered" by LEAs to inform professional development. In addition, the new rule states that "a LEA evaluation system shall assess professional development needs of educators."
Require that evaluation systems provide teachers with feedback about their performance.
In order to increase their effectiveness in the classroom, teachers need to receive feedback on strengths and areas that need improvement identified in their evaluations. As such, Utah should require that evaluation systems provide teachers with feedback about their classroom performance.
Ensure that professional development is aligned with findings from teachers' evaluations.
Utah's new legislation is certainly a step in the right direction. However, the state is encouraged to strengthen its policy to ensure that districts utilize teacher evaluation results in determining the professional development needs and activities for individual teachers.
Utah was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis. Utah also noted that based on new Board Rule R277-500-3, active teachers are required to meet annually to create and maintain a Professional Growth Plan for renewal of their educator license.
Professional growth plans can be a helpful means for teachers to build upon strengths and areas identified that need improvement in their evaluations. Unfortunately, Utah's Professional Growth Plan is not linked to teachers' evaluations, making it an unreliable means for addressing teachers' professional growth and accomplishing the aim of increasing their effectiveness in the classroom.