Creating a Comprehensive System for Evaluating and Supporting Effective Teaching

Creating a Comprehensive System for Evaluating  and Supporting Effective Teaching cover
May 8, 2012
Linda Darling-Hammond
Virtually everyone agrees that teacher evaluation in the United States needs an overhaul. Existing systems rarely help teachers improve or clearly distinguish those who are succeeding from those who are struggling.

The tools that are used do not always represent the important features of good teaching. Criteria and methods for evaluating teachers vary substantially across districts and at key career milestones—when teachers complete pre-service teacher education, become initially licensed, are considered for tenure, and receive a professional license.

A comprehensive system should address these purposes in a coherent way and provide support for supervision and professional learning, identify teachers who need additional assistance and—in some cases—a change of career, and recognize expert teachers who can contribute to the learning of their peers.

This report outlines an integrated approach that connects these goals to a teaching-career continuum and a professional development system that supports effectiveness for all teachers at every stage of their careers.

Support for this work was provided by the Ford Foundation and the Sandler Foundation.

Hard copies are available for purchase for $12 (20 or more, $8; 50 or more $5). To purchase copies, email us.


Comments from the field

Teaching quality is one of the most pressing issues facing state education policymakers, and at the heart of the matter is teacher evaluation. We often find ourselves looking for strategies that substantially and effectively recognize and foster good teaching. How can such approaches be scaled up and supported at the district, state, and federal level? This new report does an excellent job of answering such questions in both a policy and practice context, bringing together sound research from the field on effective practices and delineating policies that can support them.

—James Kohlmoos, Executive Director, National Association of State Boards of Education

Too often teachers in the United States are simply dropped into classrooms and expected to raise student achievement without the support or the continous, authentic feedback critical to professional growth. This study provides a coherent approach for system leaders for evaluating teachers and supporting their development along a career pathway from novice to expert teacher.

— Dan Domenech, Executive Director, American Association of School Administrators

Evaluating teachers should be about improving the art of teaching and learning, not simply tallying test scores. This research provides a road map for making that happen. You must have clear professional standards, multiple ways of demonstrating good teaching, feedback by knowledgeable evaluators, ongoing support, and the involvement of your teaching peers. With this approach, we can create a completely different model for teacher evaluation, one that improves teaching practice and builds effective learning environments for students.

— Dean Vogel, President, California Teachers Association