The Network for Educator Effectiveness is a research-based educator evaluation system. It was developed at the University of Missouri, a research-intensive state flagship university and a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU).

We take research seriously.

NEE was designed with practical implementation in mind. PK-12 practitioners worked in partnership with researchers to design NEE. We take the lived experience of practitioners and the deep expertise that comes with that seriously. Several districts partnered with us to guide the development of NEE. We consulted with national policy and the Missouri state department of education, as well as the state teachers’ association.

Every detail in NEE was deliberately designed based on research and practical expertise. What follows is a description of the research-based practices that informed the design of NEE’s classroom observation processes, principal training, and the NEE Student Survey.

Classroom Observations

Young girl in long sleeve sweater sitting at desk with pencil in hand smiling while teacher helps students in the background


NEE incorporates 27 teaching practices that are observable in the classroom.  Schools can choose which to focus on, based on local needs and priorities. We recommend they only focus on 4 to 6 teaching practices because research shows this is at the stretch point of human working memory capacity.

Impactful Indicators

NEE focuses on teaching practices that research shows have a large effect size.  For example, promoting students’ social skills has a powerful effect on student learning. So does promoting critical thinking.  These are two of the teaching practices NEE emphasizes.

Separate Scores

In NEE, each teaching practice is scored separately, rather than a holistic score.  This is so teachers can identify which practices they are already strong in and which there is room for growth.

0-7 Scale

NEE uses an elongated scale for classroom observations. This is because the research shows that principals tend to rate teachers leniently, near the top of the scale.  In teacher evaluation systems that use only a 3- or 4-point scale, almost all teachers score at the top. In order to detect differences among teachers and provide useful feedback, we stretch out the top of the scale.  Thus, NEE’s classroom observation scale is 8 points in total.

Multiple Observations 

Principals observe each teacher multiple times, because research shows this improves reliability of ratings.

Principal Training

Before principals can enter the NEE Data Tool online evaluation system, they must have completed training in how to conduct classroom observations and how to provide useful feedback.

In training, we use three approaches. This is because the research shows that these are the best practices for enhancing accuracy of performance ratings.

  1. We use “rater error” training to help raters learn to recognize and avoid leniency and halo errors and to use the full scale.
  2. We use “performance dimension” training to help raters understand specific teaching practices through didactic research review and discussion.
  3. We use “practice-with-feedback” training to have raters score selected videos of authentic classes and discuss their ratings with others under guidance.

Student Survey

NEE student survey example question with Likert scale responses: This teacher knows me and cares about me on a scale from "Not True" to "Very True"

NEE includes a student survey because research shows that students are reliable raters of teachers’ effectiveness, and use of student surveys is a cost-efficient way to get detailed feedback (while also showing respect for students’ voice).  The student survey is completely aligned with the NEE Classroom Observation process, for corroborating evidence on the same teaching practices. In developing the NEE Student Survey, we used research on what words most students in Grades 4-12 can read; we conducted “think alouds” as students took the survey to identify places of confusion; and we conducted statistical analysis to identify and remove any “bad” items.

These are just some examples of how every aspect of NEE was deliberately, intentionally designed based on research. 

This doesn’t mean that NEE is perfect – no evaluation system is – but we have worked hard with deep expertise using research to support its development.

Over time, NEE users have suggested improvements.  NEE’s motto is “Simple. Powerful.”  That is, any changes should be easy to use, and research needs to suggest they will be powerful in achieving the goal of helping teachers grow. If it is both simple and powerful, we do our best to incorporate our users’ suggestions.

Free Consultation

Interested in how you can implement research-based evaluation practices for your school or district? Contact NEE for a free consultation.

Contact NEE
  • I have been an administrator for 16 years. NEE is by far the best system I have used for walkthroughs, evaluations, and growing teachers. Everything is transparent with staff, administrator, and superintendent.  We worked with our staff to set our goals and have received more training than any other model and method I have used.

    Gale Dunkhas
    High School Principal
    Falls City, NE

  • NEE evaluations for our teachers and principals have been a game changer for Park Hill. Our principals and teachers are now engaged in levels of instructional conversation that we had never encountered before. Our teachers remark that they really appreciate the visibility of the principal spending more time in their classrooms. Above all, we believe our students benefit the most from the collaborative work that NEE fosters among all of our educators.

    Bill Redinger
    Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources
    Park Hill School District
    Kansas City, MO

  • NEE is the best tool I've used to evaluate teacher effectiveness and growth in the 21 years I've been in administration. It brings classroom observations, student surveys, and PDPs into one system and does so in a seamless manner.  The whole process of teacher growth is encapsulated within the NEE model. NEE allows us to target areas that need the most attention and to better instruction in a systematic way.

    Benjy Fenske
    Clever, MO

  • NEE is a great tool that, if implemented correctly and with passion, will quickly help your school improve teacher effectiveness, teacher growth, and the learning-centered culture of your school.

    Keith White
    Diamond, MO

  • NEE is the best evaluation system I have used in my 14 years as a building principal. The ability to focus on and build upon specific indicators that meet both my building and individual teacher needs makes NEE the best option for developing and growing quality teachers.

    Chauncey Rardon
    Elementary Principal
    Lathrop, MO

  • NEE is the most beneficial teacher evaluation tool we have used. Implementing the NEE evaluation system has provided a positive impact on our teachers and our students. Teachers have commented on the invaluable conversations and timely feedback they have with administration. The use of NEE has developed a different level of positive relationships between staff and administration. They truly value it as a growth tool. This has developed a higher level of awareness in teaching, resulting in higher student learning.

    Satotha Burr, Samantha Hamilton,
    Jody Martin, Jeremy Phillips,
    and Lee Woodward
    Elementary Principals
    Neosho, MO