Tennessee – Educator Effectiveness


This profile summarizes the efforts made by states and districts to implement evaluation and feedback systems, including the SREB Elements of Evaluation—basic information about the state evaluation framework. The sections below correspond to the three sections of the State Actions to Advance Teacher Evaluation report released in February 2016.

SREB Elements of Evaluation

System Name

Tennessee Evaluation Acceleration Model

System Type

State system with some district-determined components, but districts can apply to develop alternative systems

Framework for Effective Teaching

Danielson’s Framework

Key Elements of Professional Practice

Artifact collection, student survey

Measures of Student Growth

State growth score using one of six measures, school-wide value-added measure (VAM) growth, district-selected measures, student survey (optional)

Weight of Component Measures

50% Professional practice / 50% Student growth

Number of Required Observations During Summative Evaluation

Four for most educators

Performance Levels

Significantly Below Expectations, Below Expectations, At Expectations, Above Expectations, Significantly Above Expectations

Design of State Evaluation Models

The state education agency (SEA) requires the use of an observation rubric and the collection of artifacts to support professional growth ratings. Districts may use student perception surveys as an optional measure.             

All teachers develop a local student achievement measure. Teachers of tested grades and subjects receive individual VAM scores. All other educators receive school-wide VAM scores.

The SEA requires four observations for most educators. Evaluators observe teachers holding initial licensure at least six times per year. Teachers who received the top student growth rating in the previous year must have at least one annual observation. Evaluators observe teachers who received the lowest student growth rating the same number of times as their novice peers.

Implementation of District Evaluation Systems

Evaluator training includes role-play so that evaluators have a chance to practice conferencing. Evaluators reflect on personal challenges with the feedback process and develop a personalized plan for conducting conferences that fit them and their context.

Tennessee allows greater flexibility for individual teachers, reducing the number of observations required for teachers with professional licensure and a highly effective rating. Districts may exceed the state-required number of observations, or require multiple observers.

Tennessee employs evaluation coaches to provide on-the-ground support for schools that are struggling with implementing the evaluation system.

Transformation of Professional Learning

The SEA has a robust evaluation monitoring mechanism that flags struggling schools. Also, the department produces an annual implementation report. In 2015, two-thirds of teachers reported that evaluation improves teacher and student learning, compared to only one-third who reported the same in 2012.

The SEA employs evaluation coaches that learn more about the unique needs of schools through site visits. Coaches provide individualized support, which the state’s implementation report found contributes to improvements in teacher and school effectiveness.

A state initiative pairs teachers based on complementary strengths and areas for growth to increase teacher collaboration and personalize professional learning. The pilot had a positive impact on teacher learning and student growth. The department plans to expand this model to other districts.