The data and analysis on this page is from 2019. View and download the most recent policy data and analysis on Principal Evaluation and Observation in Washington from the State of the States 2022: Teacher and Principal Evaluation Policies report.
The state should require annual evaluations with frequent observations of all principals. This goal remained consistent between 2017 and 2019.
Evaluation frequency: Washington requires annual evaluations for all principals. They must receive comprehensive summative evaluations, which assess all eight evaluation criteria, at least once every four years. In years that comprehensive summative evaluations are not required, focused evaluations must take place (these assess one of the eight criteria, plus professional and student growth activities). Principals in their first three years of employment as principal, principals new to a district, and principals who received a rating of 1 or 2 during the previous year must receive annual comprehensive evaluations.
Observation/site visit requirements: Washington does not articulate any requirements regarding the number of times a principal is observed.
Evaluator training: Washington state policy requires evaluator training; however, the state does not require evaluator certification or a process that would ensure inter-rater reliability.
RCW 28A.405.100 WAC 392-191A-150
Require multiple observations/site visits for all principals.
To ensure that annual evaluations are based on adequate information, Washington should require multiple observations/site visits for all principals.
Require all principal evaluators to be both trained and certified.
All principal evaluators in Washington should be trained and certified to conduct principal evaluations on systems that include objective measures. Ensuring that all evaluators are appropriately trained and certified in conducting principal evaluations will help ensure that all evaluators are able to provide principals with fair and valid evaluations.
Washington recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state added that there is a bill on the governor's desk that would lengthen the time between comprehensive evaluations for teachers and principals who qualify for them from once every four years to once every six years. It is anticipated that he will sign it.
7H: Principal Evaluation and Observation
Research demonstrates that there is a clear link between school leadership and school outcomes. Principals foster school improvement by shaping school goals, policies and practices, and social and organizational structures. Principals vary significantly in their effectiveness, and research suggests that high-quality principals positively affect student achievement, in-school discipline, parents' perceptions of schools, and school climates. Further, principals affect teacher retention and recruitment; effective principals are more adept at retaining effective teachers and removing ineffective teachers. The time principals spend on organizational management, instructional programming, and teacher evaluation is critically important for positive effects on teachers and students. Because principals are an essential component of creating successful schools, their effectiveness should be regularly evaluated by trained evaluators on systems that include objective measures. Such systems will help to ensure that all principals receive the feedback and support necessary to improve their practice and, ultimately, student and school outcomes.