Summative Conference in the NC Teacher Evaluation System

In North Carolina, nondual teachers under the North Carolina Education Evaluation System (NCEES), sometimes called “neeses.” In the late spring of each school year, public school principals begin the arduous task of completing summary rating forms on certified teachers.

The summative conference is preceded by a year of collecting qualitative and quantitative artifacts on the teacher’s abilities in the classroom and contributions to the teacher profession in the school and beyond. The process isn’t designed to punish or shame teachers, quite the opposite actually. Teachers and administrators have ample opportunities to discuss the professional growth process. When implemented correctly, the summative conference and the evaluation process as a whole are important growing tools for teachers.

At the beginning of every year, I provide an orientation and refresher training for teachers on the evaluation system. Throughout the year, our professional learning communities center around professional growth and the evaluation instruction. Still, it is important that everyone is clear on how the evaluation process works, especially when it comes to the summative conference and the summative rating form.

Here are some reminders that I provide teachers to prepare them for the conference:

1. Summarize conferences take place in the teacher’s classroom, not the principal’s office. This ensures that the teacher has access to her artifacts should they need to be presented for review.

2. The teacher is allowed to voluntarily produce artifacts.

3. Teachers should ensure that the peer observation and professional development plan for the year is complete prior to the summative conference.

4. If a teacher has been on the shortened evaluation cycle because she has achieved career status or because she is not in the fifth year of her teaching cycle, then there is no post-conference for the two observations that precede the summative conference.

5. All post conferences and summary ratings are CONFIDENTIAL. Teachers do not share ratings and should NOT ASK OTHERS ABOUT THEIR RATINGS. This is highly unprofessional conduct.

6. The instrument is a growth tool. A teacher should not expect all “accomplished” ratings. How would that help a teacher grow? The default is “proficient.” “Accomplished” means the teacher consistently goes above and beyond the requirements of the job. For example, the fact that a teacher referred a student to the special education program is PART OF THE JOB, not an example of going above and beyond the job description.

These are some of my favorite reflection questions for the summative conference:

– How do you plan to move away from worksheets in order to support 21st Century, authentic learning?
– What have you learned this year and what will you do differently next year?
– What event or activity from this year most influenced your philosophy of education?
– How do you incorporate Blooms Taxonomy into your instruction.

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