Rise to the Challenge: Developing Teacher Talent Through Effective Evaluation

Reads and Resources

In 2011, Indiana adopted a new system of teacher evaluation, in which student achievement makes up a “significant” portion of the total evaluation score. This paper, written by the 2014-2015 Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellows, explores the ways in which teacher evaluation could be strengthened in Indiana, based on teacher focus groups and interviews. Although most surveyed teachers believed that teacher effectiveness ratings should be affected by student achievement, many still felt that the way their district was implementing evaluations was unfair and inaccurate. Some of the interesting findings and observations about teachers in Indiana are:
  • Teachers wanted principals to use evaluation as a tool for improving growth and professional development. They also wanted consistency in the way in which different principals used evaluations.
  • Teachers wanted a stronger process for conversation and reflection after being observed by their evaluators.
  • Teachers sought greater objectivity in the evaluation process, suggesting ideas such as evaluator teams or using third party evaluators.
  • But teachers also wanted to collaborate with evaluators on their own development and growth, suggesting that it may be meaningful to have the same evaluator(s) each year.
  • Teachers wanted training and guidelines about how they were going to be evaluated.
Based upon these and other themes, the paper includes recommendations for both principals and districts to improve the teacher evaluation experience.