Supporting Effective Teaching in Tennessee:
Listening and Gathering Feedback on Tennessee’s Teacher Evaluations
Teachers do not have access to high-quality professional learning and growth opportunities
tied to their performance feedback.
Throughout the feedback process, educators consistently highlighted
that lack of access to high-quality professional learning opportunities
limited the usefulness of the feedback they received about instruction.
“What you do once you have that honest professional conversation [is
important],” one principal said. “We cannot just say ‘Good luck.’”48
While many educators said they are experiencing new levels of collaboration and improved professional learning opportunities, this
experience was not reflected in every district across the state.
“ hat you do once you have that
honest professional conversation [is important]. We cannot
just say ‘good luck.’”
“We need to ensure our administrators have resources to support
teachers,” another educator said. “Going forward, we want to identify
those areas where our teachers need the most help and build a resource library to help [administrators] support their
teachers.”49 A teacher roundtable participant called for more targeted professional development: “I want districts to create
interventions for teachers receiving 1s and 2s.”50
Approximately two-thirds of teachers do not yet have individual value-added student growth data for
their grades and subjects. For these teachers, 35 percent of their evaluation is not directly tied to
their own individual performance.
Currently, it is estimated that only about one-third of Tennessee teachers have individual value-added student data that
is used to calculate 35 percent of their annual evaluation for the 2011-12 school year. For the nearly two-thirds of teachers
without these data, school-wide value-added data is being used for their evaluation. These educators consistently said that
they do not believe that using a school-wide average for such a significant portion of their evaluation is a fair or accurate
representation of their individual performance. Among teachers without individual value-added data who responded to the
online questionnaire, 48 percent indicated that one of their top three concerns with the new system was that, “I am not
confident that the available value-added student growth data…accurately reflect my effectiveness.” Fifty-six percent of
principals and other evaluators also cited the accuracy of the value-added student growth data, as a measure of teacher
effectiveness, one of the top three things they think are most in need of improvement with the teacher evaluation system.
Additionally, there are conflicting policies regarding the use of data for special education students who take the
regular TCAP assessments. Currently, these data are factored into school composite scores, but are not utilized in
calculating individual teacher’s effectiveness levels. Concern remains over this matter with some teachers and school
and district leaders.
Currently, the 15 percent student achievement measure is not viewed as directly driving effective
In selecting their top three concerns with the new evaluation system, 36 percent of questionnaire respondents agreed
with the statement, “I am not confident the student achievement measures (15 percent of teachers’ evaluations) accurately
reflect my effectiveness.” Principals and other evaluators echoed these concerns, with 44 percent indicating the validity of
the student achievement measures was one of their top three concerns with the new system.
The state-approved options that teachers and their evaluators can select for the student achievement measures themselves have been a concern. Several participants in SCORE’s feedback process called for an expansion of the options
available to teachers and principals, especially to allow educators to use measures already in place at the local level, such as
existing district-developed common assessments.
Key Themes from Feedback Collected Across the State