Linking Evaluation to Professional Growth:
Nevada

2017 General Teacher Prep Programs Policy

Goal

The state should ensure that teachers receive feedback about their performance and should require professional development to be based on needs identified through teacher evaluations. This goal was reorganized in 2017.

Meets a small part

Analysis of Nevada's policies

Evaluation Feedback: Nevada requires that teachers receive a copy of each evaluation not later than 15 days after the evaluation.  

Professional Development: Nevada does not specify that professional development activities must be aligned with findings from teacher evaluations. 

Improvement Plans: Nevada does not require that teachers with less-than-effective ratings are placed on improvement plans. Nevada only vaguely requires evaluations to include "recommendations for improvements in the performance of the teacher" and "a description of the action that will be taken to assist the teacher in the areas of instructional practice, professional responsibilities and the performance of pupils."

Evaluation Rating Categories: Nevada requires four rating categories: highly effective, effective, developing, and ineffective.

Citation

Recommendations for Nevada

Require that evaluation systems provide teachers with feedback about their performance.
Although Nevada requires teachers to receive copies of their evaluations, this only ensures that teachers will receive their ratings, not necessarily feedback on their performance. Nevada should specify that teachers should receive specific feedback on identified strengths and areas that need improvement.  

Ensure that professional development is aligned with findings from teachers' evaluations.
Professional development that is not informed by evaluation results may be of little value to teachers' professional growth and the aim of increasing their effectiveness in the classroom. Nevada should ensure that districts utilize teacher evaluation results in determining professional development needs and activities.   

Ensure that teachers receiving less-than-effective ratings are placed on a professional improvement plan. 
Nevada should adopt a policy requiring that teachers who receive even one less-than-effective evaluation rating are placed on structured improvement plans. These plans should focus on performance areas that directly connect to student learning and should identify noted deficiencies, define specific action steps necessary to address these deficiencies, and describe how and when progress will be measured.

State response to our analysis

Nevada was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis. The state also indicated that its Commission on Professional Standards held a public workshop on September 20, 2017, to revise Nevada Administrative Code 391.065 and 391.075, proposing that renewal requirements be based on professional development completed in alignment with performance evaluation standards and indicators. Following a future public hearing and adoption by the Legislative Commission, it is anticipated that this will begin with the 2018-2019 school year.

Nevada also noted that it requires "recommendations for improvements in the performance" and a "description of the action that will be taken to assist" as part of its teacher evaluations. Further, an Educator Assistance Plan is to be completed as part of the mid-cycle goals review (or sooner, as necessary) between the teacher and supervisor.

Last word

NCTQ looks forward to reviewing the state's progress in future editions of the Yearbook

How we graded

7D: Linking Evaluation to Professional Growth 

  • System Feedback: The state should require that evaluation systems provide teachers with adequate feedback about their performance.
  • Improvement Plans: The state should require that all teachers who are rated as ineffective, unsatisfactory, needs improvement or its equivalent must be placed on a performance improvement plan.
  • Aligned Professional Development: The state should require districts to align professional development content with the findings from teachers' evaluations.
  • Rating Categories: The state should require that evaluation instruments differentiate among various levels of teacher performance beyond a binary system. A system that merely categorizes teachers as satisfactory or unsatisfactory is inadequate.
System Feedback
One-quarter of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if the state evaluation system provides teachers with adequate feedback about their performance.
Improvement Plans
One-quarter of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it requires that all teachers who are rated ineffective, unsatisfactory, needs improvement or its equivalent are placed on a performance improvement plan.
Aligned Professional Development
One-quarter of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it directs districts to align professional development activities with findings from teachers' evaluations.
Rating Categories
One-quarter of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if its evaluation system requires at least three rating categories.

Research rationale

Professional development should be connected to needs identified through teacher evaluations. The goal of teacher evaluation systems should be not just to identify highly effective teachers and those who underperform but to help all teachers improve. Even highly effective teachers may have areas where they can continue to grow and develop their knowledge and skills.[1] Rigorous evaluations should provide actionable feedback on teachers' strengths and weaknesses that can form the basis of professional development activities. Too often professional development is random rather than targeted to the identified needs of individual teachers. Failure to make the connection between evaluations and professional development squanders the likelihood that professional development will be meaningful.[2]

Many states are only explicit about tying professional development plans to evaluation results if the evaluation results are bad. Good evaluations with meaningful feedback should be useful to all teachers, and if done right should help design professional development plans for all teachers—not just those who receive poor ratings.[3]

To further increase the utility and validity of evaluation systems, states should require that evaluation instruments differentiate among various levels of teacher performance rather than only giving binary satisfactory/unsatisfactory ratings. Binary rating systems often offer little meaning because virtually all teachers receive satisfactory ratings.[4] More rating categories allow for more nuanced distinctions between levels of teacher performance.


[1] For evidence of the benefits of feedback from evaluation systems, and the potential for professional development surrounding that feedback, see: Kane, T. J., Wooten, A. L., Taylor, E. S., & Tyler, J. H. (2011). Evaluating teacher effectiveness. Education Next, 11(3). Retrieved from http://educationnext.org/files/ednext_20113_research_kane.pdf; Taylor, E. S., & Tyler, J. H. (2011). The effect of evaluation on performance: Evidence from longitudinal student achievement data of mid-career teachers (No. w16877). National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved from http://www.nber.org/papers/w16877
[2] Much professional development, particularly those that are not aligned to specific feedback from teacher evaluations, has been found to be ineffective. For evidence see: Garet, M. S., Wayne, A. J., Stancavage, F., Taylor, J., Eaton, M., Walters, K., ... & Sepanik, S. (2011). Middle school mathematics professional development impact study: Findings after the second year of implementation (NCEE 2011-4024). National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. Retrieved from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20114024/pdf/20114024.pdf
[3] For additional evidence regarding best practices for professional development, see: Neville, K. S., & Robinson, C. J. (2003). The delivery, financing, and assessment of professional development in education: Pre-service preparation and in-service training. Retrieved from http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED482979
[4] Weisberg, D., Sexton, S., Mulhern, J., Keeling, D., Schunck, J., Palcisco, A., & Morgan, K. (2009). The widget effect: Our national failure to acknowledge and act on differences in teacher effectiveness. New Teacher Project. Retrieved from
http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED515656.pdf