Tennessee Education Association

Great Public Schools for All Students


EVALUATIONS: Making the System Work for You

The teacher evaluation system in Tennessee has a lot of room for improvement, and TEA is working to make meaningful changes in the legislature. In the meantime, teachers must understand how to make the most of the current system.

“Teachers have never been opposed to evaluation, we just want it to be a meaningful and accurate measure of our work,” said TEA President Barbara Gray. “Teachers are committed to ensuring their students receive the very best education. We want those checks in place to let us know where we are excelling and where we need to improve for our students to succeed.”

TEA believes the evaluation of professional educators is one of many means to improve professional practice, and that the ultimate goal of the evaluation process should be the improvement of instruction. Therefore, evaluation should be a collaborative process. A cooperative approach to evaluations involving the educator and the evaluator should result in more effective instructional practices.

TEA is prepared to ensure that school districts implement all evaluation policies fairly and objectively. Be sure you understand and are prepared for the evaluation process by reviewing the guidelines and tips contained here. TEA believes an effective evaluation system will encourage and promote a common vision of effective teaching and collaboration among all educators in support of student achievement.

“Successful evaluation models promote a reflective process, shared involvement, and educator ownership,” President Gray said. “Decide to make the process work for you.”

TEA Instructional Advocacy staff have a deep understanding of the state evaluation model, and have developed an extensive list of guidelines and tips to help TEA members make the most of the current system. 

General Suggestions
* Become familiar with the rubric(s) and form(s) used in your district’s evaluation model.
* Review other resources that might provide information or assistance (i.e., NIET portal, State Department TEAM-TN site, TNCompass, IPI Portal, EEPASS Portal, etc.)
* Know when announced observations will occur. Use the TEA Tracking Forms to track all of your observations, related conferences, and professional activities. 

* Bring your lesson plan and be prepared to discuss its relevance to state standards, including specific grade level expectations (GLEs) and course level expectations (CLEs). 
* Discuss and illustrate what you have done to improve your performance since the last observation.
* Review the professionalism rubric and bring it with you to all meetings concerning your evaluation.
* Inform your observer of any special circumstances which might occur during your scheduled observation.

* Vary instructional strategies, assessment tools, grouping and questioning practices, while maintaining consistency with strategies that have been successful in the past.
* Post lesson objectives and state standards, and ensure your lesson plans are available for the observer.
* Be aware of diversity in your classroom and utilize practices that respect and recognize culturally responsive teaching.
* Display examples of student work.

After Observation
* As per State Board of Education policy, expect written feedback within one week of each observation. Review this policy at www.state.tn.us/sbe/Policies.htm
* Email your observer within 24 hours of the observation requesting the date of the post-conference and whether you should submit any artifacts prior to that date.
* Recognize that self-scoring is optional.
* Complete the portion of the TEA Evaluation Tracking Form for each observation and add documentation to support work done for the Professionalism Rubric.

* If you are asked to self-score, discuss evidence supporting the scores you assign.  
* Ask the observer/evaluator for specific strategies to improve areas of refinement and document the strategies provided. 
* Do NOT risk insubordination by refusing to sign the observation rating documents. Signing the document does not indicate agreement, only that it has been shared with you. You may also request more time to process the information prior to signing the document.  If you are given more time, be sure to get that in writing.

* Create a file to keep all records, notes and forms pertaining to your instructional practice.
* This file could include: Phone logs, correspondence with parents, paperwork completed by you or your evaluator, participation in professional development events, notes about students, documentation from meetings with families, data used to improve your teaching, samples of student work, documentation of students assigned to your class (i.e., district requests, parent requests, inclusion, etc.), and more (see full list online).

Visit www.TEAteachers.org/Evaluation for the full list prepared by TEA Instructional Advocacy.

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