Evaluation Tracker: The Evaluation Tool, Posting Requirements, and Training Requirements for 2016-17

On November 5, 2015, the Legislature enacted PA 173 which requires school districts to take specific action during the summer months to remain compliant with Section 1249 of the Revised School Code. School administrators must plan ahead to effectively implement the new mandates, and should prioritize this project to have all of the pieces in place to begin the 2016-17 school year.

The Evaluation Tool

By the beginning of the 2016-17 school year, all Michigan school districts, ISDs, and public school academies must adopt and implement one or more of the teacher evaluation tools on the Mich­igan Department of Education's list. As of now, that list includes: Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching, Marzano's Teacher Evaluation Model, The Thoughtful Classroom, and 5 Dimensions of Teaching and Learning.

Section 1249 contains an important exception that allows for locally developed evaluation tools or modifications to one of the four approved evaluation tools. If a school district, ISD, or PSA uses a local evaluation tool or modifies an approved evaluation tool, it may conduct annual year-end teacher evaluations using that evalu­ation tool only if it complies with the posting requirements set forth below.

Regardless of whether a school uses an MDE-approved tool, a modified approved tool, or a local tool, the evaluation tool must be used “consistently . . . so that all similarly situated teachers are evaluated using the same evaluation tool.” Therefore, the teacher evaluation tool must be used consistently on a district-wide level and may not vary between buildings. This requirement applies only to the evaluation tool(s) and not to other components of the performance evaluation system, such as student growth data.

Finally, Section 1249 requires that MDE “establish and maintain a list of teacher evaluation tools that have demonstrated evidence of efficacy” that may be used in a district’s teacher per­formance evaluation system. MDE must also promulgate rules that create a standard and procedure for adding or removing evaluation tools from the approved list. Schools may submit their own evalua­tion tool for review and placement on the list. To date, MDE has not published those rules.

Posting Requirements

Section 1249 requires that schools post on their website six specific items of information about the teacher performance evaluation tool they use.

  1. The research base for the evaluation framework, instrument, and process. Alternatively, if the school adaptsor modifies an approved evaluation tool it must also post “an assurance that the adaptations or modifications do not compromise the validity of that research base.”
  2. The identity and qualifications of the evaluation tool’s author. If the school adapts or modifies an approved evaluation tool, it must also post "the identity and qualifications of a person with expertise in teacher evaluations who has reviewed the adapted or modified evaluation tool.”
  3.  Either "evidence of reliability, validity, and efficacy or a plan for developing that evi­dence” pertaining to the evaluation tool. If the school adapts or modifies an approved evalu­ation tool, it must also post “an assurance that the adaptations or modifications do not com­promise the reliability, validity, or efficacy of the evaluation tool or the evaluation process.”
  4. The evaluation "frameworks and rubrics with detailed descriptors for each performance level on key summative indicators.”
  5. A “description of the processes for conducting classroom observations, collecting evidence, conducting evaluation conferences, develop­ing performance ratings, and developing performance improvement plans.” These pro­cesses should comply with the legal requirements for an observation during the 2016-17 school year, including a review of the teacher’s lesson plan, the state curriculum standard being used in the lesson, and pupil engagement in the lesson.

For teachers rated "minimally effective" or "ineffective," at least one observation must be unscheduled. School administrators re­sponsible for the teacher’s performance evaluation shall conduct at least one of the observations. Other observers who are trained in the evaluation tool may also con­duct observations. The teacher must receive feedback within 30 days after each observation.

  1. A "description of the plan for providing evaluators and observers with training.” The training requirements are outlined below.

Section 1249 does not provide a deadline for the posting requirements except to state that the requirements begin “with” the 2016‑17 school year, which begins on July 1, 2016.

Training Requirements

Section 1249 (teacher evaluation) and Section 1249b (administrator evaluation) prescribe a training requirement for teachers, observers, and evaluators. Beginning with the 2016-17 school year, a school “shall provide training to teachers on the evaluation tool or tools” used in the performance evaluation sys­tem. The training must include information on how each evaluation tool is used. Schools may conduct the training individually or through a consortium.

All evaluators and observers must be trained by an individual who has expertise in the evaluation tool(s) used. A consultant on that evaluation tool or framework, or a properly trained individual, may provide the training.

This summer will definitely be a busy time for school officials to ensure compliance with Section 1249. Schedule the training on the evaluation tool ear­ly in the school year (September or October 2016) to prevent any delay in starting teacher evaluations.