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ERIC Number: ED499235
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Nov
Pages: 37
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 46
Examining District Guidance to Schools on Teacher Evaluation Policies in the Midwest Region. Issues & Answers. REL 2007-No. 030
Brandt, Chris; Mathers, Carrie; Oliva, Michelle; Brown-Sims, Melissa; Hess, Jean
Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest
This descriptive study provides a snapshot of teacher evaluation policies across a demographically diverse sample of districts in the Midwest Region. It aims to lay the groundwork for further research and inform conversations about current policies at the local, district, and state levels. Specifically, this study examines district evaluation policy documents for evidence of 13 common teacher evaluation practices. In general, district policy documents were more apt to specify the processes involved in teacher evaluation (who conducts the evaluation, when, and how often) than they were to provide guidance for the content of the evaluation, the standards by which the evaluation would be conducted, or the use of the evaluation results. District policies also varied in how specific they were, though the tendency was to be less, rather than more, specific for the 13 evaluation practices examined. Two-thirds of the district teacher evaluation policy documents provided guidance for fewer than half of the 13 practices. No policies specified more than 10 evaluation practices, and nearly 16 percent reflected none of these practices. The most commonly referenced practice was how often evaluations are to be conducted (67 percent), followed by what evaluation tools are to be used (59 percent) and what methods are to be used (49 percent). The study also finds that Midwest Region districts evaluate teachers primarily to help decide whether to retain or release new teachers. School principals and administrators do most of the evaluations and, at the district's direction, focus on beginning teachers. Beginning teachers are typically evaluated two or more times a year, and experienced teachers just once every two or three years. Several other patterns emerge from the findings: (1) Many district policies distinguish between beginning and experienced teachers unsatisfactory evaluations; (2) Few policies spell out consequences for unsatisfactory evaluations; (3) Few districts reference using resources or guidance to support evaluations; (4) Most evaluations are summative reports used to support decisions about retaining teachers and granting tenure, rather than for professional development; (5) Few district policies require evaluators to be trained; (6) Vague terminology leaves evaluation policies open to interpretation; and (7) The specificity of policy and procedures varies across districts. The following are appended: (1) Methodology; (2) Study findings by research question; (3) Description of teacher evaluation study stratified random sample; (4) Summative teacher evaluation form; and (5) Formative teacher evaluation form. (Contains 10 tables, 2 boxes, and 1 note.) [This report was prepared for the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) by Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest administered by Learning Point Associates.]
Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest. 1120 East Diehl Road Suite 200, Naperville, IL 60563. Tel: 866-730-6735; Fax: 630-649-6700; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A
IES Funded: Yes