Teacher Evaluation


Teachers are the most important factor influencing student success. The goal of the TEAM evaluation process is to provide educators with a model that helps them continuously improve their practice. A complete picture of what goes on in the classroom is essential to driving educator improvement; therefore, we want to look at how teachers deliver instruction and what students learn from those lessons. By using observations and data together, TEAM allows teachers and school leaders to have an ongoing dialogue about how what happens in the classroom impacts student performance. Ultimately, growth in a teacher’s skills leads to growth in student achievement. Like the reflective practices the TEAM observation system promotes for educators, the Tennessee Department of Education is committed to reflecting on and refining the observation system through feedback loops and careful study over time. Educators were instrumental in the design of TEAM and will continue to have a hand in refining the system in the months and years ahead.

Distance Learning Best Practices Suite

The distance learning best practices suite includes a trio of documents designed to support teachers and observers as they implement TEAM in a distance learning environment. These documents, developed with feedback from practitioners across the state, include:

Each document is designed to support high-quality feedback and coaching for teachers in a virtual learning setting by building upon the strong foundation of the TEAM rubric in which observers are already grounded.

Recently Added Statue, Rule, and Policy Guidance


During a special called meeting on April 9, 2020, the state board of education passed a series of emergency rules to address disruptions caused by COVID-19. This included changes to Evaluation Rule 0520-02-01This document provides guidance on evaluation related processes. Evaluation implications include:

  • Districts, including those using an alternate observation model, are not be required to meet observation pacing for 2019-20.
  • Observation pacing for 2020-21 will be determined by the educator’s 2018-19 data.
  • Educators who were awarded PDPs on the basis of their LOE in 2018-19 will be awarded the same PDPs for 2019-20.

General Guidance and Resources

General Educator Resources

Library Media Specialist Resources

School Services Personnel Resources

Professionalism Resources

  • Rubric
  • Rating Report (Word) (PDF)
  • Timing: Evaluators should not score the Professionalism domain until all testing is finished. This will ensure that all educators can remain focused on student preparation for state assessments.
  • Scoring:  The Professionalism domain should be scored by someone who regularly interacts with the educator. In most cases, this will be the principal or assistant principal. However, for some educators it may be appropriate for a supervisor to score this domain.
  • Evidence for Scoring:  Below are suggestions of evidence that evaluators could consult when scoring Professionalism:
    • Indicator 1—Professional Growth and Learning:  Educator self-reflection observation forms or other evidence of self-reflection, active participation in post conferences, incorporating feedback into lessons in a timely fashion, evidence of growth across observations throughout the year.
    • Indicator 2—Use of Data:  Evidence of instructional decisions based on data from formative assessments, effective differentiation based on assessments, use of district, school or grade level formative assessments to inform planning, evidence of adjustments in planning based on assessments.
    • Indicator 3—School and Community Involvement:  Partnerships with community organizations and actors, productive member of PLCs and grade level teams, visibility during class transitions.
    • Indicator 4—Leadership:  Evidence of planning with grade and subject peers, membership on leadership teams, mentorship of inexperienced or struggling teachers, effective planning for in-service days and faculty meetings.

Level of Overall Effectiveness (LOE) Scale


Qualitative data, student growth data and student achievement data are all combined to create a scale score (score range) between 100 and 500. Due to legislative changes made during the 2013 legislative sessions, the calculations for overall levels of effectiveness depend on whether a teacher has an individual growth score or a school- or system-wide growth score.


Score Range Level of Overall Effectiveness (LOE) Scale
<200 1
200-274.99 2
275-349.99 3
350-424.99 4
425-500 5


District-Developed Walk-Through Sample Templates

Guidance on Planning Observations

The planning domain is intended to assess how effectively a teacher plans for instruction. Evidence from the lesson plan and the observation should be used to rate the indicators in the planning domain. A written plan, multiple pages in length is not the focus of the planning observation.The focus is how teachers plan for instruction.

  • Purpose and Paperwork – The observation process is intended to accurately assess every day classroom practice for the purposes of identifying strong classroom practices and areas of refinement.  If submitted lesson plans are notably different from the planning a teacher does as a normal course of practice, then the feedback an educator receives on that plan is of limited utility. Educators should not submit, and evaluators should not accept, lesson plans that are excessive in length and/or only developed for review during the educator’s evaluation.
  • Lesson Plan Requirements – It is important to remember that specific requirements for the lesson plan itself are entirely a district and/or school decision. Furthermore, assessment of a teacher’s planning should be driven by what is best for student learning. While most teachers will be assessed on planning only once during the year, districts have discretion as to any additional collection of lesson plans.
  • Unannounced Planning Observations – For unannounced planning, evaluators may collect a lesson plan after the classroom visit. Since the planning domain is intended to assess how effectively a teacher plans for instruction, teachers should share the lesson plan that was used for the lesson observed. Districts and/or schools should provide the parameters for post-visit planning.
  • Resubmitting Lesson Plans – While the evaluator may ask probing questions in the pre-conference, the educator may not resubmit the lesson plan for scoring purposes.  The planning score should be based on the initial lesson plan submission and the observation associated with plan.

Guidance on Additional Observations


In cases where a district, school, or educator decides to have more than the minimum number of required observations for a teacher, the district must consider the following.

  • Will the decision to allow more than the minimum number of observations be a district-level or school-level decision?
    • School: Allowing the decision to do more than the minimum number of observations to occur at the school level empowers principals with additional decision making authority, but districts should implement a clear process through which school leaders notify the district of their school-level policy.
    • District: Deciding at the district-level to allow more than the minimum number of observations ensures a consistent policy across the district.  This decision would need to be clearly communicated to all observers.
    • Do you want to allow more than the minimum number of observations for a professional or practitioner teacher who previously scored a 5 on his or her individual growth score or overall effectiveness rating?
      • No: Deciding to only do the minimum number of observations is a perfectly acceptable decision for a district to make. If this is the choice your district makes it should be communicated clearly to all observers.
      • Yes: Deciding to allow more than the minimum number of observations is an option that can take multiple forms and requires a couple additional decisions:
      • If a district and/or school decides to allow additional observations, will teachers be able to opt-in?
        • Yes: Allowing individual teachers to opt-in to additional observations is logistically challenging but responsive to teachers’ preferences.  Identifying a clear process through which teachers may opt-in to additional observations is important.
        • No: Implementing the same decision for all teachers whether at the school or district level has fewer implementation challenges and ensures consistent expectations across the district.

Guidance on Walk-Throughs


Any teacher (professional or practitioner) who previously scored a 5 on his or her overall evaluation or individual growth measure will be required to have one unannounced classroom visit covering three observation domains, as well as two walk-throughs. The following items include:

  • Time: Evaluators should spend 10-15 minutes in the classroom during a walk-through.
  • Focus: There are various ways that an evaluator can focus a walk-through, depending on classroom context. Some ideas include:
    • Focus on an area of reinforcement from the first semester classroom visit with the intention of learning more about and spreading successful practices across schools.
    • Focus on an area of refinement from the first semester classroom visit to support additional improvement.
    • Feedback: Although walk-throughs are unscored, it is still important to provide feedback. A formal post-conference is not necessary after a walk-through. A brief, informal conversation, note, or email following the walk though to share immediate feedback is sufficient.
    • Documentation: Requirements for walk-through documentation are at each district’s discretion.

Guidance on Summative Conferences


Before beginning observations for the current school year, evaluators should have summative conferences with all educators to review their evaluation results from the previous school year. Summative conferences often occur at the end of the school year, but some may not be completed until the beginning of the following school year. In addition to discussing scores from the previous year, summative conferences should incorporate the main components of a coaching conversation to ensure that it is productive.

  • Required Components: 
    • Discuss professionalism scores.
    • Share final qualitative (observation) data scores.
    • Share final 15% quantitative data (if measure is available).
    • Explain when and how the overall score will be calculated.
    •  Other Components:
      • Commend places of progress.
      • Focus on the places in need of continued refinement.
      • Saving Time:
        • Ensure teachers view their data prior to the meeting.
          • Incorporate this meeting with existing end of year wrap-up meetings or beginning of year initial coaching conversations.
          • Note that there is no required form for the summative conference. Any documentation required is at the district’s discretion.
      • Coaching Conversations:
        • Begin the coaching conversation by communicating the purpose and goals to help reduce teacher anxiety.
        • Emphasize the need for teacher growth and improvement through changing and refining strategies instead of stating the need to “bring up scores from this year”.
          • Use formative and summative data from the previous year to discuss patterns in teaching practices related to student growth.
          • Provide specific strategies, based on your analysis of the teacher’s areas for growth, including timelines for regular check-ins.