Evaluation Systems: Race to the Top Resources
Implementation and Support Unit (ISU)

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Being able to gauge the performance of instructional leaders against well understood benchmarks founded in leadership competencies and to provide leaders with observations that help them improve their practice is fundamental to raising the level of leadership across States and within local educational agencies.

Most Race to the Top States are creating new effectiveness systems to evaluate the performance of principals. These efforts have come in tandem with those to change teacher evaluations or, like new teacher evaluations, align educator effectiveness in part with instructional shifts demanded by college- and career-ready standards. States are defining multiple measures of principal effectiveness that include student performance, the ability to raise teacher effectiveness as evaluated by new systems and, in some cases, success in securing and retaining effective teachers.

Given the cost and technical expertise required to develop solid evaluation systems, many school districts are adopting a State-developed evaluation rather than building one themselves. The resulting need to train large numbers of principals in the new expectations for their practice has stretched some States' capacities.

How Others Are Using This Policy and Practice Lever

  • Hillsborough County, Florida, implemented a new principal evaluation process during the 2010-2011 school year, replacing a traditional evaluation system that relied solely on the assessments of a principal's supervisor.

    In the new system, 30 percent of the evaluation result comes from gains in student achievement, 10 percent high-needs subgroups' gains, and the remaining 60 percent is based on the leader's effectiveness in supporting teachers (30 percent on input from teachers and the area director in a 360-degree principal effectiveness survey and 30 percent on factors such as retention of effective teachers, teacher evaluations and building management and culture). The district is refining the evaluation based on principals' recommendations.

The Reform Support Network developed this tool [PDF, 2.9M] to help States and others explore this policy and practice lever. Learn more about how others have considered this topic here [PDF, 545K].

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Last Modified: 07/24/2013