Supporting Effective Teaching in Tennessee:
Listening and Gathering Feedback on Tennessee’s Teacher Evaluations
• The evaluation system has encouraged more intentional use of student data by individual teachers and has
driven school-wide collaboration around student growth.
• The evaluation system is highlighting the importance of individualized professional learning for teachers.
• The system also is establishing clear expectations for principals to serve as instructional leaders who
understand and support effective teaching in their school.
• ost principals and other evaluators feel that the system is having positive impacts on student achievement
in their schools.
• Highly promising and diverse sets of practices have emerged across the four different models.
Feedback on Challenges and Concerns
In addition to positive attributes of the system, several challenges and concerns were also identified:
• Unlike most principals and evaluators, many teachers are not yet convinced of the benefits of the evaluation
• Teachers do not have access to high-quality professional learning opportunities tied to their performance
• Approximately two-thirds of teachers do not have individual value-added student growth data for their
grades and subjects.10 For these teachers, 35 percent of their evaluation is not directly tied to their own
• Currently, the 15 percent student achievement measure is not viewed as directly driving effective teaching.
• Educators feel that balancing the evaluation system with existing responsibilities is a challenge for administrators.
• Not all principals and evaluators have developed the instructional leadership skills to effectively recognize
and assess teaching practice.
• any teachers reported that observations of classroom practice do not always capture authentic instruction,
and that there has been inconsistent interpretation and implementation of the rubric.
• There is not yet sufficient focus on how the pending implementation of the Common Core State Standards
needs to be reflected in and reinforced by the teacher evaluation system.
Recommendations for Consideration Moving Forward
Meaningful feedback and related professional development opportunities are a significant component of improving
teaching and learning in Tennessee. As Tennessee continues to implement the new teacher evaluation system, any changes
that are made must support this goal. Below, we have outlined seven major recommendations that support the continued
effective implementation of the system.
Ensure current and prospective teachers and leaders receive sufficient training in the evaluation system.
Teachers and evaluators need high-quality ongoing training in order to produce consistent and accurate
Link the feedback that teachers receive with high-quality, collaborative, and individualized professional learning opportunities so that they can improve their instruction. Tennessee’s teacher evaluation
system needs to balance accountability for results with a focus on improving instruction, which is the key to
improving student outcomes. To do so, the Department of Education and districts must provide meaningful
professional learning and support to help teachers improve.