Johnny Key

Commissioner of Education

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Teacher Evaluation System

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Quality teaching begins with a teacher’s formal education, but it grows through a process of continuous improvement gained through experience, targeted professional development and the insights and direction provided through thoughtful, objective feedback about the teacher’s effectiveness.

Arkansas' focus on high quality instruction and instructional leadership through the passage of the Teacher Excellence and Support System (TESS) defines a system to support high quality classroom instruction and high quality instructional leadership, i.e., effective teaching and leading in Arkansas’s schools. 

The 2011 Arkansas General Assembly introduced and passed legislation to standardize comprehensive evaluation and support for licensed educators and non-licensed teachers employed in public charter schools under a waiver of teacher licensure requirements granted by the State Board of Education in the schools’ charters. In the 2013 Legislative Session the Teacher Excellence and Support System was amended.  TESS provides statutory direction for reform of teacher and leader evaluation systems. Rules and regulations promulgated as a result of this legislation will provide districts with a blueprint to operationalize a standardized valid and reliable evaluation and support system focused on professional growth of educators as measured by professional practice as well as student growth and achievement. This evaluation and support system, coupled with Arkansas’s longitudinal data system teacher / student link, will provide state, district and school educators with essential feedback to ensure College and Career Ready (CCR) access and achievement for all Arkansas students.

As stated in Arkansas’ Annotated Code Section 6-17-2802, the Arkansas General Assembly intended to promote the following objectives through TESS:

  • Provide school districts a transparent and consistent teacher evaluation system that ensures effective teaching and promotes professional learning
  • Provide feedback and a support system that will encourage teachers to improve their knowledge and instructional skills in order to improve student learning
  • Provide a basis for making teacher employment decisions
  • Provide an integrated system that links evaluation procedures with curricular standards, professional development activities, targeted support and human capital decisions
  • Encourage highly effective teachers to undertake challenging assignments
  • Support teachers’ roles in improving students’ educational achievements
  • Inform policymakers regarding the benefits of a consistent evaluation and support system in regard to improving student achievement across the state
  • Increase the awareness of parents and guardians of students concerning the effectiveness of teacher

For more information, please contact:

Sandra Hurst, Director of Educator Effectiveness
Arkansas Department of Education
Office of Educator Effectiveness
Four Capitol Mall, Room 103-B
Little Rock, AR  72201
Phone: 501-682-8526
Fax: 501-682-1193
Becky Gibson, Teacher Evaluation Program Advisor
Arkansas Department of Education
Office of Educator Effectiveness
Four Capitol Mall, Room 107-A
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone: 501-683-3160
Fax: 501-682-5118


State Standards

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