Two students at desk in foreground with teacher in background standing at the front of the room

As much as we had hoped the 2021-2022 school year would usher in a return to “normal,” educators have faced another challenging school year. COVID illnesses and quarantines, staff shortages, and shifts between in-person and virtual learning have created another uncertain and stressful year.

These challenges call for continued flexibility in how school leaders approach summative evaluations this spring. Although schools must abide by their state and local policies for summative evaluations, there may be opportunities for flexibility in how those evaluations are completed. Let’s review NEE’s overarching recommendations for summative evaluations in 2022.

1. Keep evaluation low-stakes.

The evaluation of effective teaching practices comprises one aspect of overall performance for a teacher. Continue to keep the evaluation process low-stakes and focused on growth. Give consideration for the stresses that teachers and you have encountered this year.

2. Document time and place.

If evaluation occurred in both in-person and remote learning environments this year, administrators should note the specific dates and times that those evaluations occurred and in which environment. Administrators might also make note of additional factors caused by the pandemic that impacted evaluation.

3. Conduct a summative conference.

Summative conferences should continue as scheduled according to board policy. We strongly encourage you to hold the summative conference in a face-to-face manner. If face-to-face conferences are not possible, video conferencing is preferred over phone conferences.

The summative conference date and time should be scheduled to provide adequate notice to the educator. In the summative comments, we recommend the administrator provide specific documentation of the date the summative conference was held or will be held, as well as how the conference was held (face-to-face, video call, phone call).

The summative conference should be forward-focused, working to set the next professional learning focus for the teacher.

4. Consider carrying forward to 2022-2023.

To decrease stress, districts may decide to carry forward the summative process in the 2022-2023 school year, if the school board agrees. If that decision is made, all data entered since the teacher’s last summative report will be included on the Teacher Summative Report completed in the spring of 2023. If a district decides to follow this option, NEE recommends that evaluation, data entry, evidence collection, and feedback continue as normal for this year.

No matter your local approach to evaluation in 2021-2022, evaluation and feedback remain important processes for professional growth, development, and support. Even if you aren’t preparing for a typical summative process this spring, NEE encourages school leaders to meet with teachers individually to review the year, provide feedback and support, and develop a plan for professional growth moving forward. If you will proceed with summative evaluations this spring, review our guidance for the summative evaluation process in 2022.

Review our additional blog posts related to the teacher summative evaluation process:

Tom Hairston is the Managing Director of the Network for Educator Effectiveness. Tom has worked with NEE since 2011. Prior to his work with NEE, he worked for two years as a Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports Consultant for the Heart of Missouri Regional Professional Development Center at the University of Missouri. He began his career in education as a high school special education and language arts teacher and football coach at Moberly High School in Moberly, Mo. Tom received his PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Missouri in 2012. 

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.