The goal of every teacher evaluation system should be strengthening teacher practice to improve student learning. As states assume more autonomy under the Every Student Succeeds Act, they have a significant opportunity to make progress toward this essential goal by taking stock of their evaluation and support systems and refining them for the better.
Teacher Evaluation and Support Systems: A Roadmap for Improvement, a new report from the Aspen Institute Education & Society Program, helps states continuously move their teacher evaluation systems forward to meet the needs of educators and students. The report spotlights promising practices from a variety of states and districts-including Colorado, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia-and outlines 10 key recommendations to help states enhance their systems.
“Every state should use the autonomy provided under ESSA to refocus on the purpose of evaluation systems-helping teachers better support students-and refine their systems to deliver on that purpose,” says Ross Wiener, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Education & Society Program. “The good news is that a lot of great work has already been done to guide states on this journey. This report draws on close work with states and districts across the country that have focused on continuously improving their systems to support teachers.”
The Aspen Institute Education & Society Program examined how states and districts can continuously refine their teacher evaluation and support systems to adapt to new challenges and opportunities. Teacher Evaluation and Support Systems synthesizes key findings from this research and recommends practical steps that states and districts can take to move their evaluation and support systems forward:
- Prioritize principal and evaluator training and certification with a focus on professional growth
- Differentiate evaluation and support based on teachers’ experience and past performance
- Allow teachers and observers to collaborate on areas of focus
- Allow for local discretion in accounting for student learning
- Respect the limitations of value-added data
- Support locally developed measures while pursuing improvements in their creation and use
- Make sure all important aspects of teaching performance are valued in evaluations
- Engage teachers in improving teacher evaluation systems
- Develop measures for testing the integrity of evaluation system design and implementation
- Tell stories that go beyond performance ratings