School Improvement Network Releases Report of Teacher Evaluation Policy, Implementation, Local Flexibility in all 50 States; Presents Report at Fordham Institute Event

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Results Show Lack of Clear Information about Evaluation Policy, States Underutilizing Local Flexibility and Options

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Evaluations and observations must move beyond mere compliance. Changes are needed to ensure states provide clear and continuous communication and then local education agencies must exercise more leadership and innovation in crafting teacher evaluations.

School Improvement Network, the leader in educator effectiveness resources, today released a new, independent report examining teacher evaluation policy, implementation and local flexibility in all 50 states. The report was presented today in Washington DC at a Fordham Institute event, sponsored by School Improvement and the National Council on Teacher Quality.

Findings show that despite the recent push for new teacher evaluations to better reflect teacher practice and guide improvement, a lack of clear information surrounding state policy and cumbersome, time-consuming approval processes hinder states’ ability to utilize flexibility in customizing teacher evaluations to best fit specific schools or districts.

Additionally, findings show teachers continue to report evaluations are ineffective, providing neither accurate evaluations of their practice or clear and appropriate direction of what should be adjusted to improve student performance.

“Evaluations and observations must move beyond mere compliance,” said Chet D. Linton, CEO and president of School Improvement Network. “Changes are needed to ensure states provide clear and continuous communication and then local education agencies must exercise more leadership and innovation in crafting teacher evaluations. When combined with state policy that includes personalized professional development components in evaluations to continue supporting educator growth, teacher evaluations have the potential to build educator effectiveness in a way that will foster student achievement and success.”

The report was compiled with information from each state’s department of education, a survey of 2,000 teachers in 46 states about current teacher evaluation implementation and practices, and a survey of School Improvement Network’s school district liaisons working in all 50 states and working with over 4,500 local education agencies.

In broad findings, the report shows a communication gap between states and local education agencies resulting in wide misunderstandings about the level of autonomy allowed in designing teacher practice evaluation frameworks. An emphasis on compliance with Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) waivers has also left states and districts with little time or resources to ensure locally developed rubrics are aligned with teacher practice to help ensure instructional improvement.

The report also showed several insightful findings into teacher evaluation policy and implementation in all 50 states, including:

  •      Nearly half of evaluations use state-developed frameworks
  •      37 states allow local control in developing a teacher practice evaluation rubric, yet that flexibility is often not clearly communicated to districts or clearly understood at the district level
  •     73 percent of our school district liaisons report their local education agencies are not at all or only vaguely aware of the flexibility they have in designing alternate teacher-practice evaluation rubrics
  •      70 percent of the educators surveyed do not believe the evaluation process in their school works effectively, primarily because evaluations are neither individualized nor do they provide more than a snapshot of their practice, and often are too detailed
  •      67 percent of educators believe their current evaluations do not provide a fair and honest reflection of their work

A complete view of the report can be found at

About School Improvement Network

Founded in 1991 by teachers, School Improvement Network has spent decades researching and documenting the best practices and teaching strategies in education. From this research, School Improvement Network has developed the Educator Effectiveness System. This system delivers a process to improve teacher practice and teaching strategies, and gives educators a set of powerful tools to drive the process. Research shows that districts and schools that use the tools in the Educator Effectiveness System produce better teachers and, as a result, experience dramatic increases in student achievement, driving up student proficiency scores by an average of 19 percent in a single year. School Improvement Network works with thousands of schools and districts in every state and around the world and has visited over 3,500 classrooms to document best practices and teaching strategies in action. Learn more at

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Abigail Shaha
School Improvement Network
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