What does ESSA say about teacher evaluation?

CCSSOWhen the U.S. Department of Education granted states waivers to the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), those waivers came with conditions. The waivers required states to adopt teacher evaluations that, among other requirements, were based in part on student performance data. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) ends these federal requirements for teacher evaluations. The elimination of these requirements gives states the opportunity to take ownership of their own systems and refine what they already have in place.

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) has released a helpful set of principles that states can use as a guide to designing, or refining, systems that support educators. These principles include the following:

  • Integrate teacher support and evaluation into broader efforts to develop teaching practice and improve student learning.
  • Drive continuous improvement of teaching practice.
  • Ensure the system is fair, credible, and transparent.

CCSSO recommends that states assess their current teacher support and evaluation systems against these principles, and use them to refine their systems. These systems can advance student learning by providing teachers with meaningful feedback on their practice, and fostering teachers’ professional growth and development. The systems can also serve a screening function for talent management processes.

For the full set of principles, see: