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Tennessee Educator Survey Highlights Positive School Cultures, Benefits of Evaluation


Tennessee Department of EducationNashville, TN – The vast majority of Tennessee educators feel positively about the climate in their schools, and more teachers than ever are finding value in the statewide evaluation system, according to the results out today from the 2016 Tennessee Educator Survey.

This is the sixth year the state surveyed all of its educators to gather their feedback, and the results show Tennessee teachers feel increasingly supported, with 86 percent saying instructional time is protected by their administration—which improved for the third year in a row.

2016 Tennessee Educator Survey results released.

2016 Tennessee Educator Survey results released.

Most teachers also view their colleagues in a positive light and say they hold each other and their students to high expectations.

In addition, more teachers than ever—71 percent—said the statewide evaluation system has led to improvements in their teaching, and two-thirds of all teachers said the evaluation process has led to improvements in student learning. Both of those statistics have improved every year since the survey began in 2011.

The Tennessee Educator Survey, designed in partnership with the new Tennessee Education Research Alliance at Vanderbilt University (TERA), aims to take the pulse of teacher perceptions, monitor school climates and culture across the state, and include teachers’ voices in policy discussions.

“Educators’ voices drive the work of the department, and we have to ensure they feel supported. As we continue to improve educational outcomes in Tennessee, both the state and the public must understand how educators and administrators view their role,” Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said. “The Tennessee Educator Survey provides pointed insight for districts, educators, and communities. They can see where we are excelling, in areas like evaluation, and where we need to continue to improve as we seek to ensure all students are ready for postsecondary and the workplace.”

The 2016 survey results also highlight disparities between teacher and administrator views about the effectiveness of school discipline policies. More than 95 percent of administrators say their school effectively handles student discipline and behavioral problems, but fewer than 70 percent of teachers agree.

These insights and more can be seen on the 2016 survey website, which is launching today. The online portal provides users the ability to view aggregate statewide teacher and administrator responses, as well as district and school-specific information, to a series of questions measuring educators’ perceptions of state initiatives and their work in schools every day. More than 30,000 educators, which make up about half of the teachers and administrators in the state, responded to this year’s survey.

The department shares school and district survey results directly with local leaders to inform for their decision-making, and the department also uses the state-level information to understand more about the teacher and administrator point of view and guide the department’s work. Last fall, the department used educators’ feedback to inform its new strategic plan, Tennessee Succeeds, and build specific priorities to better empower districts and strengthen systems that support educators.

Additionally, the department provides support to districts through regional field offices, called Centers of Regional Excellence, to provide districts with the support to create regional collaborative relationships, differentiated professional development, and evidence-based best practice sharing.

To view the 2016 Tennessee Educator Survey results, visit the department’s site here. Data from the 2015 Tennessee Educator Survey can also be viewed on the department’s website here.

For more information about the Tennessee Educator Survey, please contact Nate Schwartz at




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