State Oversight of District-Designed Teacher-Evaluation Systems

TeacherEvalWaivers-coverIn 2011, President Barack Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan provided states with flexibility from certain requirements under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA, currently known as the No Child Left Behind Act. The flexibility process requires states to develop and implement new educator-evaluation systems to help identify effective teachers. While some states required districts to adopt state-designed evaluation systems, other states gave school districts discretion in designing their own teacher-evaluation systems.

Inevitably, one of the challenges those states that offered discretion now face is tracking and monitoring the variety of district teacher-evaluation plans. Some districts have opted for Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) instead of value-added test models. And some have created combination models. Of those districts and states that use teacher observations, the percentage that observations are weighted for the total varies greatly.

The new report, “ESEA Waivers and Teacher-Evaluation Plans” by Kaitlin Pennington, identifies key takeaways—or best practices—for state departments of education and school districts to consider as they head into full implementation of their teacher-evaluation systems.

In particular, the report also uses detailed case studies to look closely at four states—Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, and Ohio—and the unique structures each has put in place to keep track of locally developed teacher-evaluation systems.

Here are the short versions of the key takeaways from the report:

  • Develop a clear idea of what successful implementation of teacher evaluation looks like.
  • Commit to continuous improvement.
  • Build capacity at the local level.
  • Create clear communication cycles around data with state departments of education and school districts.
  • Develop systemic relationships between state and district leaders.

For more information, please visit: