Component 7: Using Teacher Evaluation Results

Selecting Trigger Points for Action

If a state plans to use its evaluation system for personnel decisions, designations of when action will be triggered need to be determined and communicated to the teacher workforce. For example, if evaluation results are tied to teacher advancement, will the teacher need to achieve exemplary ratings for three consecutive evaluation cycles prior to promotion? Will achieving exemplary ratings during two of four cycles trigger advancement?
If ameliorative action is indicated, in how many evaluation cycles will improvement be expected?

Targeting Professional Development

Using evaluation results to support professional learning is likely the most significant phase of the evaluation cycle. An evaluation system's capacity to reliably identify highly effective and ineffective teachers is important. However, ensuring that teacher ratings can reliably detect teacher strengths and weaknesses is essential for accurately targeting professional development. Evaluation results can then be used to identify individual, school, and districtwide needs; target professional learning; gauge teacher growth; and identify potential mentors. Providing job-embedded, ongoing, individualized, and collaborative professional learning and support is necessary for teacher evaluation to have positive impacts on teacher practice.

Consequently, states and districts will have to move away from ineffective professional development delivered as fragmented, discrete workshops and intentionally design and implement sustained, coherent, and meaningful professional learning opportunities for teachers. In designing an aligned teacher evaluation and professional learning system, state and district leaders should use teacher evaluations to build a shared understanding of effective practices, provide sufficient evidence-based feedback to teachers, and include measures for teacher learning and collaboration throughout the evaluation process.

As professional development is incorporated into the evaluation cycle, stakeholders need to evaluate outcomes to determine whether the efforts have improved teaching practice. This process goes beyond a simple evaluation of the professional learning activity, moving toward a continual, longitudinal reflection and analysis of teacher participation, support, and outcomes related to student achievement. Investing in the technical infrastructure to collect, link, and analyze professional development and teacher evaluation results over time may improve the overall effectiveness of professional learning efforts.


Trigger points for action

Guiding Questions

Evaluation cycle

Guiding Questions

Evaluation results

Guiding Questions


Guiding Questions

Evaluation systems

Guiding Questions

  • Have trigger points for action using evaluation results been established?
  • Does the state intend to align evaluation results to human resource decisions?
  • At what point will evaluation results warrant a promotion, dismissal, etc.?
  • How many evaluation cycles will be used to ensure that opportunity for professional growth is provided?
  • How will evaluation results be shared with teachers? When will teachers be notified of next steps toward professional growth or termination?
  • Is professional development an integral component of the evaluation cycle?
  • Is a goal of the evaluation system to improve teacher capacity? If so, how will the evaluation system affect teacher practice?
  • Will teachers identified as ineffective have sufficient opportunities and support to improve before termination is considered?
  • Will personnel decisions be defensible if teachers were not provided an opportunity and the resources to improve?
  • What resources, including time and personnel, are dedicated to teacher improvement?
  • Will teacher evaluation results be used to target professional development activities?
  • How will professional development opportunities be determined for teachers, schools, and the district?
  • How will data obtained through the various teacher evaluation measures inform professional development offerings?
  • How can the evaluation system be retooled to reliably detect teacher strengths and weaknesses?
  • Can teacher evaluation results be used to identify teachers for roles such as mentor teachers, master teachers, and consulting teachers?
  • Are professional learning activities provided in a manner that is supported in research?
  • What human and fiscal resources can be used to provide job-embedded professional development?
  • Can teacher application and reflection be built into the professional learning activity?
  • Are professional learning activities "job-embedded" or a
    one-time-only session?
  • Do teachers have common planning times to reflect upon new practices?
  • Can opportunities for teachers to observe effective teachers be provided?
  • Will professional learning communities be established?
  • Are systems established to evaluate professional learning efforts?

Evaluate the Training

  • What mechanism will be established to ensure that participant feedback is obtained (e.g., training evaluation, follow-up survey)?
  • What procedures will be established to ensure that active participation and application is an integral part of the professional development activity?

Reviewing the Outcomes

  • Can the evaluation measure(s) detect teacher growth as a result of professional development efforts?
  • Can demonstrated teacher growth be correlated to improved student achievement?
  • What mechanism will be established to follow up on teachers to ascertain whether teacher practice has been improved as a result of the professional learning efforts (e.g., follow-up survey/

Modifying the Process

  • Can the system identify which professional learning opportunities are/are not effective?
  • Are changes in the evaluation system necessary to correlate teacher and student growth with participation in professional learning activities?
  • How will results (e.g., evaluations and outcomes) be used to improve professional development offerings and strategies?


Aligning Teacher Evaluation With Professional Learning

To increase teacher effectiveness, states and districts will need to align teacher evaluation and professional learning systems. The following resources detail how teacher evaluation reform can improve teaching and learning when the right conditions, resources, and opportunities are in place.

Generating Teaching Effectiveness: The Role of Job-Embedded Professional Learning in Teacher Evaluation (Research & Policy Brief)

Toward the Effective Teaching of New College- and Career-Ready Standards: Making Professional Learning Systemic (Research-to-Practice Brief)

Linking Teacher Evaluation to Professional Development: Focusing on Improving Teaching and Learning (Research & Policy Brief)

Identifying and Supporting High-Quality Teachers

Identifying high-quality teachers and supporting them is necessary to maintain overall teacher effectiveness. The following resources outline how performance-based assessments and optimal professional contexts can support high-quality teachers.

Identifying Professional Contexts to Support Highly Effective Teachers (Key Issue)

Job-Embedded Professional Development: What It Is, Who Is Responsible, and How to Get It Done Well (Issue Brief)

Using Data for Personnel Decisions

Teacher lay-offs and teacher tenure are current and controversial topics of discussion in many states and districts. The resources highlighted in this subsection offer guidance and strategies for this topic area.

Performance-Based Dismissals: Cross-Sector Lessons for School Turnarounds

Removing Chronically Ineffective Teachers: Barriers and Opportunities

Fixing Tenure: A Proposal for Assuring Teacher Effectiveness and Due Process

Ringing the Bell for K-12 Teacher Tenure Reform

Treating Different Teachers Differently

Paying for Teachers' Performance Strategies and Conditions for Success (Webcast)

From Data to Bonuses: A Case Study of the Issues Related to Awarding Teachers Pay on the Basis of Their Students' Progress

Using Performance-Based Assessments to Identify and Support High-Quality Teachers (Key Issue)

Developing Alternative Compensation Systems

The following websites offer information on alternative compensation programs developed in states and districts and include links to various resources that provide examples of alternative compensation systems currently in place.

National Center on Performance Incentives


The GTL Center is building an online repository of expert panel reviews of
real-life teacher evaluation models operated by districts throughout the country.

For each district included, you can view, per component, a description of how that district approached the many issues involved.

To view these real-life models, visit the Teacher Evaluation Models in Practice portion of the GTL Center website.

  • First, click on View the Models in the table of contents.
  • Click one or more districts.
  • Then, select Component 7.