The Mind Shift in Teacher Evaluation: Where We Stand—and Where We Need to Go

Angela Minnici

State teacher evaluation policies have undergone sweeping changes since 2008, spurred forward heavily by federal competitive funding opportunities like Race to the Top and Investing in Innovation. All 49 states and the District of Columbia have changed legislation or regulations to improve the consistency and quality of teacher evaluation. After five years of feverish design and implementation, where do we stand? What have been the successes and what challenges remain to be addressed?

The Mind Shift in Teacher Evaluation takes stock of state efforts to improve teacher evaluation and offers recommendations for moving forward. Despite the technical and practical challenges of evaluation reform, the most important lessons come from the fundamental mind shifts that are the foundation for the effort’s success. These mind shifts include

  • a common understanding about effective practice;
  • the importance of professional conversations for honing practice;
  • better measures that serve multiple purposes; and
  • making sure teachers are included as the experts they are in the design process.

To guide states and districts in designing and implementing effective evaluation systems, the article offers an overview of ten common missteps to avoid and identifies two major challenges that states will need face to keep reforms on track.