Research shows the single largest school-based factor affecting student achievement is the quality of teaching.

Therefore, it’s important to have high-quality evaluation processes in place to measure the effectiveness of educators in your building.

Measuring educator effectiveness can take several forms. The best approach is to utilize multiple measures in order to triangulate data and feedback from multiple sources.

The Network for Educator Effectiveness offers schools a full suite of tools that can be used in the evaluation process. For teachers, classroom observations are the core component, but additional measures offer administrators a more complete, accurate, and reliable view of a teacher’s strengths and areas to target for professional growth.

As with anything, though, a phased approach to implementing evaluation components tends to work best. If you are just getting started, NEE suggests you focus solely on classroom observations for a year (at least). Get really good at doing classroom observations and offering feedback to teachers based on your observations. (We can help with that.) When you feel comfortable with observations, then it’s time to add in additional measures.

Besides classroom observation, additional measures to evaluate teaching within the NEE system include:

  • Teacher Professional Development Plans (TPDP)
  • Unit of Instruction plans (UOI)
  • Student Growth
  • Student Surveys

Let’s break down each of those measures in more detail.

comprehensive teacher evaluation

Teacher Professional Development Plans (TPDP)

In Missouri, where NEE was developed, Teacher Professional Development Plans are required for every teacher. Not all states have the same requirement, but don’t overlook the value of TPDPs even if they are not required.

Too often, professional development is sporadic, lacks alignment with school goals, and involves no adequate follow-up.

TPDPs help schools transform professional development into an intentional, comprehensive, and sustained process for continual, ongoing learning that aligns with school improvement initiatives.

TPDPs construct a specific timeline of activities and pinpoint a schedule for conversations throughout the year between administrators and teachers.

Teachers start the TPDP process using the data from a recently completed summative to identify areas for professional growth. Over the course of the year, the TPDP process flows back and forth from the teacher to administrator for approval and progress monitoring. Teachers and administrators should have regular dialogue and feedback sessions to discuss PD.

The following spring, the administrator documents goal progress and goal attainment, provides comments, and scores the TPDP. The score is pulled into the teacher’s summative evaluation.

A note to NEE schools: There are several modules in EdHub with more details and instructions on the TPDP. Search “teacher professional development plan” inside EdHub to learn more. You may also contact your NEE trainer and field representative for more customized support.

Unit of Instruction Plans (UOI)

The Unit of Instruction plan addresses curriculum implementation, or NEE Standard 3. The UOI asks teachers to write about the essential teaching elements of one selected unit.

Elements in the UOI include:

  • Alignment with board-approved curriculum and standards
  • Student learning objectives
  • Plans for maintaining high levels of student engagement
  • Use of research-based instructional strategies
  • Options for differentiation
  • Formative and summative assessment procedures (with proposed intervention strategies)
  • Student learning outcomes
  • Self-reflection

Teachers complete the “planning” phase of the UOI first, then they use the plan for instruction and collect student artifacts over the course of the unit (assignments, projects, assessments, etc.). When the unit is over, the teacher returns to the UOI document to complete sections on student outcomes and self-reflection. The teacher includes appendices with student artifacts (student names removed).

Once completed by the teacher, the administrator scores the UOI plan, offers feedback, and completes the report, which provides data for the teacher’s summative evaluation.

A note to NEE schools: There are several modules in EdHub with more details and instructions on the UOI. Search “unit of instruction” inside EdHub to learn more. You may also contact your NEE trainer and field representative for more customized support.

Student Growth

Although the federal government has, in recent years, relaxed requirements for including student growth data in teacher evaluations, some states and districts continue to use it.

NEE does not collect or evaluate student growth data, but we have incorporated a method for collecting and reporting this information for those schools that use student growth data in evaluations.

Student growth can be found in Section 5b of the UOI plan.

Within the UOI, teachers set their goals at the beginning of the instructional period for the unit, then collect and evaluate data throughout the unit. Once the teacher has determined levels of mastery for the students who received instruction, the results may be recorded in Section 5b of the UOI plan.

Some schools choose to complete only Section 5b without completing the entire UOI plan. Section 5b on the UOI organizer is not scored, nor does it directly contribute to a teacher’s summative evaluation. Individual school districts add a note about student growth in the comment section on each teacher’s summative report, if desired. (On the summative, administrators also check a box to indicate student growth expectations have been met.)

Student Surveys

Student perception surveys have long been used in post-secondary instructor evaluations and are growing in popularity in K-12 schools.

One of the main concerns we hear about student survey data is whether students are “qualified” to provide feedback on the quality of instruction in the classroom. Research shows that student survey results collected from students in grades 4-12 are very closely aligned with the results of observations conducted by administrators. In fact, students have been estimated to be up to 96 percent accurate in determining teacher effectiveness when compared with other measures.

Students provide reliable, valuable feedback. Students see teachers every day of class across the year, so the influence of different lessons is diminished, and one poor or exemplary lesson doesn’t skew results.

For NEE schools, here are some specific points to keep in mind about the NEE Student Survey:

  • Survey questions should align with school improvement initiatives. For NEE, this means aligning survey questions with the same indicators used in classroom observations. This level of specificity allows the teacher and administrator to compare the data from classroom observations, student surveys, and student growth to form a well-rounded picture of the teacher’s effectiveness.
  • Because of this focused pool of questions, the survey generally takes no more than 20 minutes for students to complete.
  • At least 6 students must respond for data to be reported, although 15 students is the recommended minimum to provide validity.
  • Using a student survey is not recommended for some teachers who may not work with a large enough group of students or may not use conventional classroom instruction practices, such as special education teachers, counselors, and speech language pathologists.
  • The survey was developed for students in Grades 4 through 12.
  • There is a training module available in EdHub to guide you through the steps of starting and administering student surveys. You can search “student survey” in EdHub or look for it under the “NEE Training Materials” topic.
  • NEE incorporates the student survey results in a teacher’s summative report. Some school districts elect to survey students each semester in order to compare the two sets of results. This is more common in secondary schools and results in the teachers having a Survey Detail Report for each survey. The scores that are fed to the summative report represent an average of the scores from the two surveys.

Conclusion

Using all four NEE measures in conjunction with classroom observations generates a more robust summative evaluation for your teachers. Using multiple measures is a recognized best practice for educator evaluation, but remember, if you’re just getting started, a phased approach is recommended. Incorporating all measures at once will be overwhelming for everyone involved. A phased approach will allow all stakeholders more time to get acquainted with evaluation processes, to feel comfortable with them, and to develop a more positive outlook about how they work together to grow educators.

When you’re ready to move forward with additional measures, NEE has integrated all of the components into our system and they are ready for your use. We are here to support you in your implementation of any one component or all components of the NEE system. Let us know how we can help.


The Network for Educator Effectiveness (NEE) is a simple yet powerful comprehensive system for educator evaluation that helps educators grow, students learn, and schools improve. Developed by preK-12 practitioners and experts at the University of Missouri, NEE brings together classroom observation, student feedback, teacher curriculum planning, and professional development as measures of effectiveness in a secure online portal designed to promote educator growth and development.