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Success Factor 1

Key Practice A

Teacher Incentive Allotment

Key Practice A: Strength of teacher evaluation rubric

Success Criteria

  • District utilizes a research-based teacher evaluation system/rubric that meets the requirements of TEC 21.3521
  • Teacher evaluation rubric is a nationally recognized rubric such as T-TESS, Marzano, Danielson, or NIET, or if district-created, is well aligned to nationally recognized rubrics and includes indicators of instructional effectiveness, supportive learning environments, data driven instruction, and teacher professionalism
  • All indicators have detailed and observable descriptors and correlated performance levels

Descriptive Indicators

  • The evaluation rubric should capture the holistic nature of teaching based on the premise idea that there is a cycle in teaching and learning that allows for an ongoing gauge of teacher effectiveness based on how students respond to their teacher’s instructional practices, both content knowledge and pedagogy
  • For those reasons, the rubric should have observable domains focused on teachers and students rather than separating them out into separate domains
  • A sound teacher evaluation rubric should include a process that seeks to develop habits of continuous improvement, and the process leads to that outcome when appraisers and teachers utilize dialogue and collaboration to solicit evidence-based feedback and targeted professional development

Best Practices

  • Domain and dimensions of rubric should include specific descriptors of practices across performance levels
  • Structure and language of the rubric should be written in a manner that routinely centers on interactions between teachers and students (see sample rubrics for example)
  • The structure of the rubric should lend itself to collaborative conversations that result in improvements to a teacher’s instructional strategies, content knowledge, routines, and/or practices that result in improved learning and performance for students
  • Professional development goals are designed for the year for teachers to reflect on and strengthen their instructional practices and content knowledge based on the rubric
  • Areas identified should be aligned to specific domains and indicators within the rubric to be continuously assessed throughout the year
  • Progress should be tracked towards professional development goals and includes the observer or appraiser, as needed, to support teacher success

Lessons Learned

  • Educators (teachers and appraisers) should use the rubric to promote teacher self-reflection and leverage it as a coaching tool to strengthen their content knowledge, pedagogy and professional practices during pre- and post-conferences in both short and extended observations
  • When the rubric clearly differentiates teaching practices and embeds feedback within
    each dimension and descriptor, teachers have an opportunity to reflect as they plan and deliver instruction

Resources

Texas Teacher Evaluation &
Support System (T-TESS) Rubric

Rubric used for capturing the holistic nature of teaching used to evaluate teacher performance. The rubric includes specific dimensions, descriptors and performance levels.

Dallas ISD Teacher Excellence Initiative (TEI) Teacher Performance Rubric

Rubric used for evaluating teacher performance in Dallas ISD’s teacher evaluation system.

Dallas ISD TEI Rubric
Companion Guide

Document designed to be used in concert with the Dallas ISD TEI Teacher Performance rubric to further define and support a fair and accurate assessment of teacher effectiveness.

Danielson Framework

Framework for teaching that provides a common language and approach for effective teaching and learning.

National Institute for Excellence
in Teaching

Rubric based on nationally normed, research-based standards with a comprehensive focus on key domains of teaching.

Key Practice B

Key Practice B: Schedule of observations

Success Criteria

  • Teachers receive annual extended observations with feedback and shorter observations with feedback consistently throughout the year
  • Each year, district publishes requirements for number and type of observations to be used in rating teachers

Descriptive Indicators

A teacher’s summative evaluation for annual ratings may be based on extended, short, and informal observations

Annual Extended Observations

All teachers receive at least one extended observation, which consists of an unscheduled observation of at least 45 minutes, or one complete lesson, if less than 45 minutes

Shorter observations with frequent feedback throughout the year

One of the primary purposes of short observations is to provide teachers with frequent feedback to support growth. As such, teachers should receive written feedback within one to two working days from the evaluator that conducted the observation. Face-to-face feedback conversations are also highly recommended

Informal observations

Evaluators can observe teachers at any time, in any school setting, of any duration, and with any frequency deemed appropriate. The purpose is to provide teachers with constructive feedback to improve practice. Any observed actions, evidence, or artifacts may inform a teacher’s evaluation

Best Practices

  • The extended observation should take place a single time for an extended time period•Rubric domains reflecting classroom instruction and learning environment should be rated and scored for the extended observation
  • The shorter observations should be focused on a defined set of high-leverage indicators from the rubric such as those focused on developing and executing purposeful, highly effective, and rigorous instruction and those that are centered on building safe, supportive, and rigorous learning environments
  • All teachers, regardless of proficiency rating, should receive short observations with written and/or face to face feedback throughout the year. The required number of observations may vary based on proficiency level
  • Peer observations are allowable; however, only certified administrator evaluator observations should count toward requirement, most are used for coaching and feedback only

Lessons Learned

  • Shorter observations could be conducted by primary or other certified evaluator, with most short observations and feedback conducted by the primary evaluator

Observation Type

Short

Extended

Informal

Duration

Typically 10-15 minutes

45 minutes or one full lesson cycle

Any length

Frequency

Dependent on rating/effectiveness level:

•Less than proficient or no prior effectiveness level: 6 annually•Proficient: 3 annually•Higher than proficient: 2 annually

Minimum of one

Any amount

Focus

Domains with instruction and learning environment

Domains with instruction and learning environment

Any

Scored?

Yes

Yes

No

Written feedback

Required within 2 working days

Required within 10 working days

Optional

Conference

Face to face recommended

Required within 10 working days

Optional

Informssummative?

Yes

Yes

Yes

Resources

Dallas ISD TEI Guidebook 2020-2021

Rules, policies and procedures for Dallas ISD’s Teacher Excellence Initiative (TEI)


Key Practice C

Key Practice C: Calibration of evaluators

Success Criteria

  • Teacher evaluators are trained and/or certified annually on the teacher evaluation rubric
  • District leadership implements a system for calibration within and among campuses

Descriptive Indicators

Calibration procedures help appraisers maintain scoring accuracy to avoid rater drift. “Rater drift” refers to changes, or gradual degradation, in rater behavior across different observations over time. Calibrations highlight appraiser behaviors for accurate scoring of teacher lessons, classroom practices and student performance against the rubric and training benchmarks. The calibration process is intended to identify and correct discrepancies in scoring and promote consistency across multiple appraisers to align final ratings. Strongly Calibrate Evaluators is a critical component for creating an evaluation system that is perceived as being fair and accurate by teachers by removing subjectivity and favoritism from the observation portion of the evaluation

Best Practices

  • Establish a comprehensive evaluator certification protocol that includes, but is not limited to: in depth understanding of the evaluation system, rater accuracy to include calibration of the rubric and processes to establish inter-reliability of evaluators. Additionally, a field experience requirement could be part of the certification process to further strengthen the fairness and accuracy of the system. The certification process should be meaningful in the sense that it has implications on the job performance of the evaluator
  • Certification process and calibration exercises should include viewing videos of teachers or live lessons and conducting debriefs focused on evidence collected to support ratings
  • Calibration exercises should be conducted with principals and principal supervisors’ multiple times throughout the year of similar and varied courses and lessons; these can be full 45 minute observations as well as 10-15 minute classroom walks
  • Campus based instructional coaches with evaluator certifications and other personnel whose role is to observe instruction and provide feedback to teachers, should be certified annually and participate in calibration exercises throughout the year
  • Calibration should include the review of artifacts and student level data to triangulate and validate ratings
  • Research shows that outside observers (i.e. campus administrators from other campuses and/or those in central campus positions) are least likely to bring bias to observation ratings, therefore campus calibration walks should include people from outside the campus to calibrate the principal rating
  • Districts should monitor and audit observation data regularly to mitigate bias and inflation
  • With the exception of the campus principal, appraisers should rotate the group of teachers they score in a manageable cadence for the campus to provide adequate coverage that is not repetitious from year to year and teacher to teacher
  • Identify the 5-7 highest leverage behaviors on the selected rubric to have the system calibrated on first, and gradually move through the entire rubric as competency grows and allows (this does not mean the other behaviors are not important, but it can be overwhelming to instructional leaders and teachers to understand an entire rubric right away)

Lessons Learned

  • Calibration is one of the most important and challenging elements of implementation for many evaluation systems. With the tendency for scores to be inflated over time, a district should consider measures that monitor and promote inter-rater reliability and taking ongoing action to maintain consistent scoring. Consider adding an inter-rater reliability measure into the principal evaluation as an extra layer to support the calibration of teacher evaluations

Resources

Texas Teacher Evaluation &
Support System (T-TESS) Rubric

Rubric used for capturing the holistic nature of teaching used to evaluate teacher performance. The rubric includes specific dimensions, descriptors and performance levels

Sample Calibration Activities

Sample school district’s approach to calibration processes and protocols.

Key Practice D

Key Practice D: Congruence of observation scores to student growth

Success Criteria

  • District leadership analyzes the correlation between teacher observation scores and student growth

Descriptive Indicators

  • Ensuring strong congruence between teacher observation and student growth is an essential tenet in a strongly calibrated teacher observation system
  • Analyzing teacher observation trends, including year to year progressions, analysis by evaluator and analysis by school is imperative to an accurate and reliable assessment of teacher effectiveness

Best Practices

  • District should analyze teacher observation scores with student growth scores to identify potential areas of misalignment. When possible, this should be done throughout the year using data from classroom walks and student data. At a minimum, this should be done annually using the teacher observation score and student growth scores•Creation of a data-tracking system that automatically flags when observational ratings are out of alignment with student growth targets and goals

Lessons Learned

  • When implementing a new system that has not previously included student growth measures, analyzing congruence between teacher observation scores and student growth data will help better understand how to strengthen the existing system or create a new one
  • Analyzing the congruence of the observation and student growth component can help to identify areas of concern with how the observation rubric is applied. It will often expose inflation concerns as well as those that may be scored lower than expected on observation rubric. Both require further investigation to understand underlying factors

Resources

District data set of achievement and teacher evaluation ratings

Sample simulation from local district to identify trends in student achievement in comparison to teacher evaluation ratings under previous, less rigorous teacher evaluation system

Key Practice E

Key Practice E: District review of observation data

Success Criteria

  • Principal managers and district leadership regularly analyze teacher observation trends across campuses, teaching assignments, and appraisers to look for and address potential ratings incongruities
  • Principal managers and district leadership provide coaching and other supports in response to the observation data review to ensure accuracy and reliability across the district’s system

Descriptive Indicators

  • Principal managers use observation data, student achievement data to improve accuracy and reliability of the observation system. Principal managers create the conditions for well calibrated observations across the system of schools under their leadership

Best Practices

  • Principal manager observes principals and campus leadership team during ongoing campus calibrations and provides coaching to the campus principal; timing can be after receiving data on nine-week tests and/or semester exams•Principal manager reviews observation data and corresponding student data for trends with principal and campus leadership team to create actionable support plans for high leverage next steps
  • Conduct routine audit of observation ratings and student achievement in set intervals throughout the year (i.e. nine-week test and/or semester exams) to identify trends and address incongruences

Lessons Learned

  • Principal and Principal manager collects data and studies high leverage coaching strategies that result in improved practice and replication through individual and campus wide professional development
  • District leverages observation data to target professional development needs identified across multiple sites to maximize economies of scale and provide wide access to shared resources district-wide

Resources

Sample districtwide data tracker

Contact Best In Class for district examples