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Professional Development | News

Report: Teacher Evaluations Meaningless Without Supporting PD

Many states have been implementing new teacher evaluation systems in an effort to improve teacher effectiveness, but those evaluations have little meaning unless they are accompanied by individualized professional development and support, according to a new report from the School Improvement Network, a provider of professional learning and training resources for educators.

The report, "Beyond Teacher Evaluation: Prioritizing Teacher Instructional Effectiveness with Meaningful Professional Development," examines state policies on teacher professional development related to evaluations, with the goal of helping state and district leaders implement teacher evaluation and support policies that have a meaningful effect on teacher effectiveness.

"For evaluations and observations to have a meaningful impact on educators and the students they teach, educators must have the personalized resources and support they need to improve practice and spur professional growth," said Chet D. Linton, CEO and president of School Improvement Network, in a prepared statement. "Without this connection, evaluations are merely compliance."

Key findings of the report include:

  • Connecticut, Kentucky, New Jersey and South Dakota are the only states that have made a significant effort to implement teacher support related to evaluations;
  • Eight states were confident local education agencies were developing and implementing personalized professional learning plans related to teacher evaluations;
  • Nine states are still in flux over their evaluation system, preventing work towards corresponding professional growth plans;
  • Four states' teacher evaluation systems do not include a professional learning provision for teachers; and
  • Fifteen states offer little or no funding for professional support and resources.

According to the report, states are failing to implement effective teacher support related to evaluations because they don't feel responsible for overseeing compliance with evaluation policies, because they don't have the ability to support local education agencies in this area or because they're still in the early stages of implementation.

The report includes case studies detailing the efforts of Connecticut, Kentucky, New Jersey and South Dakota in creating systems to provide teacher support related to evaluations.

The full report, "Beyond Teacher Evaluation: Prioritizing Teacher Instructional Effectiveness with Meaningful Professional Development," can be found on the School Improvement Network's site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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