Supporting Effective Teaching in Tennessee:
Listening and Gathering Feedback on Tennessee’s Teacher Evaluations
SCORE’S Teacher Evaluation Feedback Process
In the past, meaningful feedback for teachers has been an important missing link in the efforts to improve instruction in classrooms
across Tennessee. Under the old system, tenured teachers could go years without evaluations and the feedback they needed to improve
instruction. While the state did not routinely collect evaluation results from districts under the previous system, the vast majority of
teachers were typically deemed to be performing at high levels.11 In such cases, evaluations failed to effectively differentiate teachers and
were inconsistent with the state’s educational outcomes. To address this issue, Tennessee’s First to the Top plan prioritizes improving the
state’s system of providing feedback to teachers.
As with any large-scale change – in this instance, one that requires adaptation in the professional beliefs and behaviors of tens of
thousands of educators working in schools across the state – there are significant and promising signs of progress as well as challenges
emerging in the initial implementation.
In December 2011, Governor Bill Haslam asked the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) to conduct a formal
statewide listening and feedback process, independent of the state government, on Tennessee’s teacher evaluation system. In addition,
Governor Haslam asked SCORE to produce a report to the Tennessee State Board of Education and Department of Education
at the conclusion of this process that would reflect feedback from across the state and propose a range of policy considerations for
refining Tennessee’s teacher evaluation system moving forward. This feedback process complements other feedback being done by the
Department of Education and the Tennessee Consortium on Research, Evaluation, and Development (TNCRED).*
SCORE collected feedback in multiple ways from stakeholders across the state including teachers, principals, superintendents,
parents, local and state officials, community and business leaders, and other citizens.
First, SCORE held nine public roundtables throughout the state, including in rural, urban, and suburban communities in all three
grand divisions. At each of these roundtable sessions, which were held between February and April of this year, SCORE facilitated
a discussion among a group that included teachers, principals, superintendents, business and civic leaders, parents, and state and
local officials about successes and challenges faced in implementing the system. SCORE worked with partner organizations – listed
below – to identify participants for each of the nine sessions.
Second, in order to give every educator in the state the opportunity to provide input, SC