New Teacher and School Administrator Evaluation Requirements

Public Act 173 of 2015, effective November 5, 2015, amended the Revised School Code by adding and revising language for teacher and school administrator performance evaluations.

Beginning with the 2016-17 school year, schools may adopt and implement their own evaluation tool for both teachers and school administrators rather than adopting a State evaluation tool. PA 173 also mandates new substantive and procedural requirements for teacher and school administrator evaluations.

Teacher Evaluations

PA 173 alters the substantive requirements of teacher evaluations, requiring that:

  • For the 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18 school years, 25% of the annual year-end evaluation must be based on student growth and assessment data. Beginning with the 2018-19 school year, the percentage increases to 40%.
  • The portion of a teacher’s annual year-end evaluation that is not based on student growth and assessment data must be based primarily on a teacher’s performance as measured by the selected evaluation tool.
  • The portion of a teacher’s annual year-end evaluation that is not based either on student growth and assessment data, or a teacher’s performance as measured by the selected evaluation tool, must incorporate criteria enumerated in Section 1248(1)(b) of the Revised School Code that includes the teacher’s disciplinary and attendance record, relevant special training, and significant accomplishments (i.e., the same factors used for layoff and recall decisions).

Many commercially purchased evaluation tools may satisfy these Michigan statutory requirements, requiring administrative adjustments to bring the evaluation tool into compliance. For example, a year-end evaluation must consider teacher discipline and attendance, which may not be included in a commercially purchased evaluation tool.

Importantly, PA 173 does not require the student-growth component to be linked to State assessments until the 2018-19 school year. Instead, school districts may utilize other student growth measures, which include student learning objectives, achievement of individualized education program goals, nationally normed or locally developed assessments aligned to State standards, research-based growth measures, or alternative assessments that are rigorous and comparable across schools within the district. Nevertheless, a school district must utilize “multiple measures” in assessing the student-growth component and must administer evaluations consistently throughout the school district.

In addition to these substantive requirements, PA 173 also altered the following procedural require­ments, which must be implemented by the 2016-17 school year:

  • If a teacher is rated as effective or highly effective on the two most recent annual year-end evaluations, the school district needs only to conduct one observation. If a teacher is not rated as effective or highly effective on the two most recent annual year-end evaluations, the school district is required to conduct “at least 2” classroom observations. The previous law mandated “multiple observations” for such teachers. At least one of the two observations must be unscheduled. Probationary teachers still must have “multiple” observations.
  • Administrators must provide feedback to teachers within 30 days after each observation.
  • Administrators must provide training to teach­ers about the evaluation tools utilized.
  • Observers other than the administrator responsible for evaluating the teacher may conduct observations if the observer is trained to use the evaluation tool.
  • Each school must post on its public website: (1) the research base for the evaluation framework; (2) the author’s identity and quali­fications; (3) evidence of reliability, validity, and efficacy or a plan for developing such evidence; (4) the evaluation frameworks and rubrics with de-tailed descriptors for each performance level on key summative indicators; (5) a description of the process for conducting classroom obser-vations, collecting evidence, conducting eval-uation conferences, developing performance learnings, and developing performance im-provement plans; and (6) a description of the plan for providing evaluators and observers with training.

PA 173 imposes various consequences for ineffective teachers. Before the amendment, if a stu­dent was assigned to a teacher rated ineffective on the two most recent annual year-end evaluations, the statute required the district to notify the student’s parent or guardian of the assignment. Under the amended statute, beginning with the 2018-19 school year, schools are prohibited from assigning a pupil to be taught in the same subject area for two consecutive years by a teacher rated as ineffective in his or her two most recent annual year-end evaluations. If school officials are unable to comply with this requirement, the district must notify the parent or guardian of the assignment in writing, delivered by July 15 before the student is assigned to the teacher, and explain why the district is unable to comply.

School Administrator Evaluations

PA 173 also created Section 1249b of the Revised School Code, which addresses school administrator evaluations.

  • For the 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18 school years, 25% of the annual year-end evaluation must be based on student growth and assess­ment data; the percentage increases to 40% for the 2018-19 school year.
  • The portion of a school administrator’s annual year-end evaluation that is not based on student growth and assessment data must be based primarily on a school administrator’s perfor-mance as measured by the selected evaluation tool.
  • The portion of a school administrator’s annual year-end evaluation that is not based on stu­dent growth, assessment data, or the administrator’s performance as measured by the selected evaluation tool must incorporate at least: (1) the school administrator’s profi­ciency in using the evaluation tool for teachers used by the school district; (2) the progress made by the school district in meeting the goals set forth in its school improvement plan; (3) pupil attendance in the school district; and (4) student, parent, and teacher feedback, as available, and other information considered pertinent.

Similar to teacher evaluations, PA 173 mandates that the evaluation tool used for school administrator evaluations be used consistently throughout the school district. A school is not, however, required to use the same evaluation tool for teacher evaluations and school administrator evaluations. A school must train all evaluators on the selected evaluation tool used. Lastly, PA 173 mandates the same website re­porting requirements for both school administrator and teacher evaluations.

School officials are encouraged to review their evaluation tool(s), board policies, procedures, and regulations to ensure compliance with PA 173. In addi­tion, school officials should take steps to implement teacher and school administrator training for its eval­uation tool(s) for the 2016-17 school year. Furthermore, school websites must be evaluated to ensure they contain the required information as de­scribed in this article. Thrun Law Firm will continue to provide monthly updates on all evaluation related issues, including the implementation of PA 173, through Thrun’s Evaluation Tracker.