Teacher and Principal Evaluation Policy
The state should require annual evaluations of all teachers. This goal remained consistent between 2017 and 2019.
Frequency of evaluations: Virginia does not ensure that all teachers are evaluated annually. Nonprobationary teachers must be formally evaluated at least once every three years and more often if deemed necessary by the principal. They must be informally evaluated during each year in which they are not formally evaluated. Informal evaluations are "intended to provide more frequent information on a wider variety of contributions made by the teacher. Evaluators are encouraged to conduct observations by visiting classrooms, observing instruction, and observing work in non-classroom settings."
Any nonprobationary teacher who receives an unsatisfactory formal evaluation and who continues to be employed by the local school board must be formally evaluated the following year. Probationary teachers must be evaluated annually.
Multiple observations: Virginia does not ensure that all teachers receive multiple observations.
Feedback for new teachers: Virginia requires that a teacher in the first year of the probationary period must be informally evaluated at least once during the first semester of the school year.
Code of Virginia 22.1-295 Guidelines for Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria for Teachers http://www.doe.virginia.gov/teaching/performance_evaluation/guidelines_ups_eval_criteria_teachers.pdf
Require annual formal evaluations for all teachers.
All teachers in Virginia should be evaluated annually. Rather than treated as mere formalities, these teacher evaluations should serve as important tools for rewarding good teachers, helping average teachers improve and holding weak teachers accountable for poor performance.
Base evaluations on multiple observations.
To guarantee that annual evaluations are based on an adequate collection of information, Virginia 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. Virginia 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 failing to meet minimum standards of performance. Virginia's policy regarding teachers in their first year of the probationary period is a step in the right direction, but Virginia should consider early feedback and support for the first few years that a teacher is in the classroom.
Virginia was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis.
7C: Frequency of Evaluation and Observation
Observations serve several purposes, including to provide actionable feedback to teachers and to provide a summative rating that can be used in staffing decisions. Observations can be a rich source of information for teachers, giving them useful feedback to improve their practice.
Multiple data sources should be used in teacher evaluation, including multiple observations by more than one observer. Teacher observations conducted by principals that occur once or twice a year and consist of rating teachers on observable behaviors and characteristics have not proved valid. Research widely finds that the nature of their role as both instructional leaders and summative judges inhibits principals' ability to reliably serve as evaluators. In contrast, observations conducted by peers and other observers with subject knowledge are valid and reliable. Additionally, teacher observations are more effective when they occur in tandem with aligned professional development.
Observations are especially important for new teachers. In the absence of good metrics for determining who will be an effective teacher before he or she begins to teach, it is critical that schools and districts closely monitor the performance of new teachers. States should specifically require that new teachers receive an observation early in the school year. Early feedback may be especially essential for new teachers, given that teachers' performance in their first year is a strong predictor of their performance in later years.
Student reports of teacher quality are a unique and largely untapped source of rich data. Research finds that student input on teacher quality adds value to teacher evaluation systems. Research also finds teachers prefer evaluation systems that include student survey data. Students' first-hand reports of classroom elements (e.g., textbooks, homework, instruction), teacher-student communication, assignments, and daily classroom operations may provide teachers with credible information about their impact in the classroom, as well as serve as a tool for formative evaluation. Student perceptions of learning environments can be reliable and predictive of learning. Including student surveys in teacher evaluation systems strengthens the ability to identify teachers' effects on outcomes beyond standardized test scores. In addition, teacher evaluation systems that include student survey data, which are somewhat correlated with teachers' student growth measures, are stronger, more reliable, and more valid than those that rely solely on administrator reports and observations.