Component 5: Selecting and Training Evaluators

Selecting and Training Evaluators

Implementation of an improved principal evaluation system will be largely dependent on the quality of training and support provided to evaluators. Evaluators—be they superintendents, assistant superintendents, human resource directors, or others—are at least partially responsible for ensuring that evaluation procedures are followed, data are collected with integrity, information is properly interpreted, and actionable feedback is provided. Each evaluator function requires some initial training and ongoing support. When designing the new evaluation system, states and districts should plan to hire or certify new evaluators; monitor evaluator performance; and provide evaluators feedback to promote improvement in implementation fidelity, interrater reliability (as applicable), and increased impact.

Selection or hiring of evaluators is dependent upon the evaluation model that the state or district chooses to pursue. Some districts, for example, apportion a percentage of existing staff time to principal evaluation, and others hire part-time staff as evaluators. In many small school districts, the superintendent is a school principal, so another person must appraise his or her performance.

An appropriate amount of time should be allocated to principal evaluators to fully complete evaluations as required by the state or district. Whether selected or hired, principal evaluators should have a strong, working knowledge of principals’ work and the context of that work (e.g., elementary school, rural school, turnaround school).

For a more detailed discussion of these topics, see the full downloadable Acrobat version of A Practical Guide to Designing Comprehensive Principal Evaluation Systems.



Guiding Questions

Training & guidelines

Guiding Questions


Guiding Questions

  • What level of training is required to administer and interpret evidence of principal performance?
  • What types of training do vendors or designers of measures recommend for the administration and interpretation of data?
  • What training do school principals need to ensure that they are knowledgeable about the evaluation system and its requirements?
  • How much time does training require, and how will training be funded?
  • Will the state provide training or guidelines on evaluator/reviewer selection and training?


  • What criteria will be used to select evaluators or reviewers?
  • Who will be eligible to collect evidence and conduct evaluations?
  • How will student outcomes or other extant data be managed?
  • Will the state require evaluators or reviewers to have experience as a principal at the school level being evaluated?
  • How will the state address personnel time limitation for conducting evaluations or reviews?


  • How will the state ensure implementation fidelity and system integrity?
  • Will the state offer specialized training or certification programs for principal evaluation?
  • To what extent will the training provide opportunities for guided practice paired with specific feedback to improve reliability?
  • Will the state provide examples and explicit guidance in determining levels of proficiency and approval?
  • How will the state or district sustain programs to train new evaluators, as needed?
  • Does the state have a system in place to retrain evaluators/ reviewers if the system is not implemented with fidelity?
  • Will the state monitor evaluator effectiveness?
  • If evaluators/reviewers are not implementing the system with fidelity, what mechanisms will be in place to retrain evaluators/reviewers?
  • Will evaluators/reviewers be monitored regularly for checks in reliability?
  • How will the state or district provide ongoing evaluator training and feedback to ensure that evaluation practice remains strong?
  • How will the state or district sustain training programs?


OCM BOCES Principal Evaluator Training

This link provides an overview of the training given to principal evaluators in Onondaga, Cortland, and Madison Counties in New York State. The resource list at the bottom of the page includes links to additional resources.



Iowa has developed a statewide evaluator certification process that requires all evaluators to successfully complete initial and ongoing training. To be certified, evaluators must be knowledgeable about evaluation procedures and achieve an acceptable level of interrater reliability. Should evaluators fail to pass initial training or complete ongoing professional development, they are no longer certified to evaluate principals. The Iowa Department of Education has approved an online evaluator class, iEvaluate, to train evaluators. There is a separate class on principal evaluation training, iEvaluate-Administrators, intended for superintendents or central office administrators responsible for evaluating principals. The iEvaluate class replaces the Evaluator Level I and Level II trainings. There is a third level of training available as well, Evaluator Approval Level III.

For more details, see the Iowa Evaluator Approval & Training webpage.