MDE Opens REP Report Appeals Window

In a June 2, 2016 memo to local and ISD superintendents and public school academy directors, the Michigan Department of Edu­cation announced the commencement of an “appeals window” for the five most recent years of educator evaluation data in the Registry of Education Personnel (“REP”).

Under Public Act 173 of 2015, the Superintendent of Public Instruction is prohibited from issuing an initial professional teaching certificate (effective July 1, 2018) or an initial or renewed advanced professional education certificate (effective November 5, 2015) unless the teacher meets certain criteria, including evaluation rating requirements. In the June memo, MDE stressed that to accurately implement these statutory requirements, it must rely on the accuracy of the REP report’s evaluation outcomes. Because concerns have been raised about the accuracy of this data, the Center for Educational Performance and Information (“CEPI”) will open an “appeals window” from September 1 to December 1, 2016 to review the accuracy of the five most recent years of educator evaluation data in the REP report.

MDE expects districts and PSAs to assume some responsibilities during the appeals period and stated that:

In order to identify necessary modifications to evaluation data, districts and PSAs will need to review the overall data quality of their past educator evaluation submissions to the REP and ensure that current and future REP submissions are accurate at the time of entry. They also should work with teachers to identify individual cases where evaluation data may have been incorrectly keyed.

The memo also includes a section entitled “What Districts and PSAs Need to Do to Prepare for the Appeals Window,” which outlines the following steps school officials should take to prepare for the appeals window:

  • Identify the individuals currently responsible for REP submissions and ensure they receive all relevant MDE and CEPI communications.
  • Conduct an internal audit of the REP teacher evaluation data for the past five years to identify systematic or isolated data problems.
  • Develop a local communication plan to ensure that principals and teachers are informed about the appeals window.
  • Send the pdf “For All Michigan Teachers: Action Required to Ensure Your State Evaluation Data is Accurate for Certificate Progression and Renewal” to each teacher in the district/PSA. This document may be found at:

www.michigan.gov/documents/mde/Action_Required_-_State_Evaluation_Data_525907_7.pdf

  • Ensure that all teachers in the district/PSA know about the need to check their own evaluation data in the Michigan Online Educator Certification System (“MOECS”).
  • Develop a protocol for working with teachers who believe there is an error in their evaluation data.
  • Look for updated guidance from CEPI and MDE related to the autumn appeals window.

According to the memo, CEPI will make educator evaluation data for the past five years available for review in the MOECS beginning August 19, 2016. Educators will receive an email notifying them that educator evaluation data is available in MOECS on August 20, 2016.

From September 1 to December 1, 2016, districts and PSAs may submit data correction appeals in the REP to address inaccurate teacher evaluation data for any of the past five years. MDE is advising educators that “[i]f you find that your evaluation data is inaccurate, you will work with your district or PSA to ensure they submit a CEPI appeal on your behalf.” MDE has not elaborated on the procedure that districts and PSAs must undertake to “work” with an educator on an evaluation data appeal. Importantly, MDE has indicated that the “appeals window” is to correct errors in evaluation data reported to CEPI and is not a process for challenging an evaluation’s outcome.

Finally, the corrected data will be posted in the MOECS as the MDE processes the appeals. MDE advises educators to monitor their evaluation data to ensure accuracy throughout the appeals period.

Because districts and PSAs have certain responsibilities before and during this “appeals window,” school officials are encouraged to review the MDE memo and to begin implementing the requirements outlined above. The memo can be found at:

www.michigan.gov/documents/mde/MOECS622016_525929_7.pdf