A guiding principle of teacher evaluation in Tennessee is a commitment to research that will strengthen the system over time to produce better feedback for teachers and better outcomes for students. Click here for information on the research that informed the development of the TEAM model: TEAM Rubric Research Base

In August 2012, the department launched an office of research and policy charged with generating a program of study to ensure that policy decisions within the department are grounded in rigorous internal data analysis and guided by the findings of independent research studies. Now called the office of data and research, this office has significantly increased the capacity of the department to learn from the data collected by the teacher evaluation system and to identify areas in need of improvement.

Reports on TEAM Implementation

Department Reports & White Papers on Evaluation

Further Projects & Research

The office of data and research additionally coordinates a series of partnerships with nationally recognized researchers to build out the knowledge base about evaluation and instructional improvement. These partnerships serve a critical function by providing independent evaluations of the state system. The research partnerships focus on two major questions:

(1) How can the state ensure that teacher evaluation processes are being implemented fairly and consistently across all districts and schools?

(2) To what extent does the teacher evaluation system support a meaningful cycle of teacher feedback and improvement?

The list below describes currently active projects focused on improving teacher evaluation in Tennessee:

Beyond Ratings: Re-envisioning State Teacher Evaluation Systems as Tools for Professional Growth (March 2016)
Kaylan Connally (New America), Melissa Tooley (New America)

Beyond Ratings features Tennessee as one of four states with a highly effective teacher evaluation system. The report explains how states that capitalize on the information gathered through teacher evaluations are able to propel teacher and student growth. The report highlights Colorado, Delaware, Louisiana, and Tennessee for using a combination of strategies to strike a balance between teacher support and accountability.

Measuring Student Growth in Tennessee: Understanding TVAAS (October 2014)
State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE)

This report details the history of TVAAS and how it relates to teacher evaluation in Tennessee. For more information on TVAAS, click here.

Instructional Partnership Initiative
John Papay (Brown University), John Tyler (Brown University), Eric Taylor (Stanford University)

The department supports the Instructional Partnership Initiative (IPI) in many schools across the state. This no-cost approach uses teacher evaluation feedback to provide personalized professional development through collaborative teacher partnerships. In a pilot study conducted over the last two years, called the Evaluation Partnership Program, schools that implemented these teacher partnership teams saw TCAP test scores increase school wide by 5 points in reading and 6 points in mathematics. Additionally, students of lower-performing teachers participating in the program improved on TCAP by 12 points more than the students of similar teachers in control schools. Read more about the initiative here.

In May 2016, Georgetown University’s Center for the Future of American Education published a report that includes Tennessee’s IPI. Read it here: Grading the Graders: A report on teacher evaluation reform in public education.

First to the Top Survey
Tennessee Consortium on Research, Evaluation and Development

This annual survey of all teachers and administrators across the state focuses primarily on educators’ perceptions of the teacher evaluation process. Survey captures teacher perceptions of evaluation system (2013 Classroom Chronicles blog post) Initial Findings from the 2013 First to the Top Survey (Tennessee Consortium Report)

Integrating Teacher Evaluation and Professional Growth Opportunities
Tennessee Consortium on Research, Evaluation and Development

This study will produce qualitative case studies of several Tennessee districts, focusing on the interaction between teacher evaluation and professional development and the different methods used across the state for aligning these two tools for improving instruction.

Teacher Evaluation and Novice Teacher Decision-Making
Jessica Rosner (Harvard University), Dan Koretz (Harvard University)

This study investigates the impact of different levels of evaluation scores on the decisions that novice teachers make about where to teach and whether to remain in the profession.

Learning from Alternate Observation Models
Jennifer Sloan McCombs (RAND Corporation), Laura Hamilton (RAND Corporation)

This study will look across the alternative models of teacher observation used in different TN districts and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of teacher feedback that each model provides, with the aim of strengthening the TEAM model.