When Darrell Hugueley, a 7th-grade Language Arts teacher in Memphis, heard that Memphis City Schools was going to revamp the teacher evaluation system, he started to investigate right away. Hugueley became a teacher after many years in sales and management, and as someone who had given and received many evaluations in the business world, he said, “I wanted to see some improvements in how teachers are evaluated. I was looking for some depth of analysis from my administrators.”

Hugueley believes that with the rollout of Memphis’ new Teacher Effectiveness Measurement (TEM) this fall, he is going to get it. While teachers are often portrayed as resistant to new teacher evaluation systems being established across the country, Teach Plus has learned that there are many teachers like Hugueley: Of those polled by Teach Plus nationwide, 94% agree that “clear, measurable standards of effectiveness are critical for teaching to be recognized as a true profession.”

Teachers are hungry for feedback, yet more than half of teachers told Teach Plus that their last evaluation was “not at all useful.” When teachers lack effective feedback, student learning suffers. TEM was designed to change that. The district will provide teachers with information about their students’ growth (through Tennessee’s TVAAS data), and also ensure that teachers have regular classroom observations and stakeholder feedback.

It is no accident that the TEM appeals to teachers hungry for information about their teaching. The Memphis City Schools partnered with Teach Plus to solicit teacher feedback, and piloted three well-respected observation rubrics in 500 classrooms, including Hugueley’s. It was teachers themselves who chose which observation rubric the district would use and how much emphasis to place on classroom observations. (See this Teach Plus report on the teacher-centered process.)

As policymakers across the country begin to reimagine teacher evaluation systems, Memphis is leading the nation in advancing real reform. The TEM – and the teacher-driven process that created it – could serve as a model for their efforts. That would be good for teachers, and good for kids.

Hugueley thinks that while it’s still a work in progress, the TEM could deliver what he’s looking for. “I am looking forward to having meaningful conversations with stakeholders about what I do in the classroom,” he says.