2017 Teacher and Principal Evaluation Policy
The state should require annual evaluations with frequent observations of all principals. This goal was new in 2017.
Evaluation Frequency: Arkansas only requires annual summative evaluations for principals in the novice/probationary or intensive categories under its evaluation framework. Principals in the inquiry category are evaluated once every four years.
Observation/Site Visit Requirements: Arkansas does not require observations/site visits for the purposes of principal evaluation; they are optional.
Evaluator Training: Arkansas state policy requires evaluator training; however, the state does not require evaluator certification or a process that would ensure inter-rater reliability for the purposes of principal evaluation.
Require annual formal evaluations for all principals.
All principals in Arkansas should be evaluated annually. Rather than treated as mere formalities, these principal evaluations should serve as important tools for rewarding good principals, helping average principals improve, and holding weak principals accountable for poor performance.
Require multiple observations/site visits for all principals.
To ensure that annual evaluations are based on adequate information, Arkansas should require multiple observations/site visits for all principals.
Require all principal evaluators to be both trained and certified.
All principal evaluators in Arkansas should be trained and certified to conduct teacher evaluations on systems that include objective measures. Ensuring that all principals are appropriately trained and certified in conducting teacher evaluations will help ensure that all principals are able to provide their teachers with fair and valid evaluations.
Arkansas asserted that multiple measures of data including observations may be used to rate effectiveness. The state added that a beginning administrator may, but is not required to, receive a summative evaluation within the first three formative years. Arkansas does provide professional learning opportunities during beginning administrator induction and mentoring to ensure calibration with the evaluation rubric.
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.