Frequency of Evaluations : Wisconsin

Identifying Effective Teachers Policy


The state should require annual evaluations of all teachers.

Does not meet goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Frequency of Evaluations : Wisconsin results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of Wisconsin's policies

Regrettably, Wisconsin does not ensure that all teachers are evaluated annually.

Nonprobationary teachers must only be evaluated once every three years. New teachers in Wisconsin must be formally evaluated once during their first year of teaching and then every third year thereafter. The state's policy does not include any guidelines on when these evaluations should occur.


Recommendations for Wisconsin

Require annual formal evaluations for all teachers.
All teachers in Wisconsin 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, Wisconsin 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. Wisconsin 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.

State response to our analysis

Wisconsin recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state added that in October 2010, the superintendent convened a Design Team on Educator Effectiveness. It was charged with developing key guiding principles of a high-quality educator effectiveness system, creating model performance-based evaluation systems for teachers and principals, building a regulatory framework for implementation that includes how student achievement data will be used in context and making recommendations for methods to support educator improvement and to recognize performance. 

"The ultimate goal of education is student learning. Effective educators are essential to achieving that goal for all students. We believe it is imperative that students have highly effective teams of educators to support them throughout their public education. We further believe that effective practice leading to better educational achievement requires continuous improvement and monitoring."

Wisconsin also noted that a strong evaluation system is designed to provide information that supports decisions intended to ensure continuous individual and system effectiveness. The system must be well-articulated, manageable, reliable and sustainable. "The goal of this system is to provide students with highly qualified and effective educators who focus on student learning."

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).