Supporting Effective Teaching in Tennessee:
Listening and Gathering Feedback on Tennessee’s Teacher Evaluations
3(b) evisiting the 15 percent quantitative student achievement component of the evaluation and strengthening
implementation so that it meaningfully drives effective teaching.
I. e recommend the Department create an ongoing feedback loop to review the list of measures for this component
on an annual basis. This could be done as part of a larger process that reviews the 50 percent of teacher evaluation
that measures student growth and achievement on an ongoing basis. In the near term, the Department should
consider revising the current list of approved options to ensure that options are valid and reliable, support district
and school priorities, and are available in a timely manner.
II. hen selecting appropriate measures of student achievement, teachers and principals should select the measure
that most closely aligns with the individual teacher’s role and with school and district-wide priorities. To determine
the appropriate scoring scale, we recommend teachers and principals discuss and set ambitious and achievable
goals for their students’ achievement. Educators should embrace this goal-setting opportunity to drive teaching
and learning in their classrooms and schools.
III. istrict leaders should ensure that the measures selected are based on rigorous goals for improved classroom
instruction and student growth.
IV. he Department of Education should continuously evaluate whether the 15 percent measure is driving teaching
effectiveness. If this measure is ultimately not able to drive effective teaching, its place in the evaluation system
should be reconsidered.
3(c) ith educator input, determine how to best put the authentic assessment of teacher practice at the center of
the observation system where initial implementation has faltered.
I. istricts that have not yet done so should engage their educators to identify the specific challenges preventing the
authentic assessment of teacher practice and create a plan to address those challenges. We recommend:
a. Districts utilize the existing flexibility to address concerns where applicable, such as unannounced vs. announced
observations or the use of peer evaluators/coaches.
b. istricts also apply for additional flexibility to address their unique issues. This could include changes they
believe will improve authentic assessments of instruction in their schools, but are outside of existing flexibility
II. he evaluation system requires a minimum of two classroom visits for professionally licensed teachers per year and
four classroom visits for non-professionally licensed teachers per year. Existing research on the issue of observation
frequency supports multiple observations for all teachers.62 Therefore, the current system, with multiple observations per year for all teachers, is a critical piece of Tennessee’s teacher evaluation system. There is, however, an
opportunity for the State Board of Education to provide additional clarity to districts regarding this requirement.
III. e encourage the Department to create a process to continually review progress and identify potential revisions
to the qualitative process to ensure it results in accurate and meaningful assessments of instruction for all teachers.
In particular, this process should be used for the following:
a. he Department of Education should consider accelerating the identification and use of student surveys as
a percentage of the qualitative score for all current models, based on existing research on the reliability and
validity of such results for teacher evaluation.63
b. ver time, the Department and State Board should examine and consider a process for allowing districts to utiO
lize their highest performing teachers to provide growth opportunities for educators who are in need of support.
c. EAM leaders could consider the development and use of adapted rubrics for specialized teaching assignments
or other roles, such as counselors and instructional coaches. This should be balanced to ensure the effectiveness
of the system is not unintentionally undermined by an excessive number of adaptions. Project COACH, TEM,
and TIGER leaders should assess how the adapted rubrics in their respective models are driving effectiveness
across roles and assignments and consider any revisions accordingly.