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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Research Findings on the 2012-2013 Implementation of the Educator Evaluation Framework

Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
January 17, 2014


This memo provides the background and overview of the findings of an external research study on the implementation of the Educator Evaluation framework. The research focused on the first year of implementation in 2012-2013. In addition, this memo summarizes the implementation support the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) is providing to districts, in relation to issues identified in the research study.

Implementation Study of the Massachusetts Educator Evaluation System

In the fall of 2012, commissioned by ESE, a research team led by SRI International, an independent non-profit organization, launched a multi-year study of Massachusetts' new educator evaluation model. Preliminary findings from implementation year 1 are available (see enclosed Research Brief: Early Implementation of the MA Educator Evaluation Framework) and indicate areas of strength and progress, as well as areas of challenge. This summary includes DESE's response to key findings.

The majority of educators expressed generally positive views of the new evaluation system and reported that the new system has significant advantages over past evaluation practices. This finding is integral to the long-term success of the new evaluation model. In order to ensure that districts continue to move toward an evaluation model that improves professional growth and student learning, DESE will maintain its commitment to working with educators to build confidence in and find success with the new model.

Educators had mixed views of the fairness of the new system. This finding echoes educator concerns related to evaluators' ability to conduct evaluations accurately and thoroughly. Existing and forthcoming DESE resources will assist districts in helping evaluators to do this work well:

  • Distributed Leadership: The DESE Model System includes strategies for distributing leadership around the evaluation process, including (1) the identification of "supervising evaluators" (see Model Collective Bargaining language Download PDF Document  Download Word Document); and (2) adoption of a Peer Assistance & Review model (see Part I: District-Level Planning & Implementation Guide).
  • Role-Specific Supports: DESE encourages districts to explore Role Specific Indicators Download PDF Document  Download Word Document to augment the model rubrics, as well as rubric supports specific to school business administrators, nurses, and school counselors Download PDF Document  Download Word Document.
  • Comprehensive Evaluator Training: DESE has pre-approved four vendors to provide high quality evaluator training and coaching (see Category B vendors). Forthcoming: DESE resource on Improving Inter-rater Reliability.
  • Implementation Timeline: DESE extended the implementation timeframe related to District-Determined Measures (DDMs) and the integration of student and staff feedback in order to give districts more time to do this well.

Labor-management relations based on collaborative resolution of implementation issues enhanced the rollout of the new evaluation system. DESE will be releasing model contract language related to DDMs (winter 2014) and student and staff feedback (spring 2014) to assist with the collective bargaining process.

Educators are still working to integrate the new evaluation system with other district reform initiatives… School districts in Massachusetts are devoting considerable time, energy, and resources to multiple, concurrent reforms. DESE's goal is to help educators identify and facilitate synergies across initiatives, to make implementation more effective and efficient. To that end:

  • DESE released a guide for using current assessments Download PDF Document  Download Word Document as a starting point for DDMs that features the Curriculum Embedded Performance Assessments included in DESE's Model Curriculum Units.
  • DESE has published Quick Reference Guides on the integration of educator evaluation and the 2011 MA curriculum frameworks Download PDF Document  Download Word Document and professional development Download Word Document.
  • In fall 2013, DESE conducted a Curriculum Summit that focused on ways to integrate the implementation of educator evaluation and the curriculum frameworks.
  • DESE has launched the first Professional Practice Innovation Grant to support practices that integrate implementation of educator evaluation with the curriculum frameworks. Professional Practice Innovation Grant grant recipients will share best practices at the 2014 Educator Evaluation Spring Convening, and DESE will conduct the grant opportunity a second time in February 2014.

Administrators and school staff reported that they understood the components of the evaluation cycle; both groups, however, wanted more training and guidance on goal-setting and evidence collection.

  • To assist educators in the goal setting process, DESE has released training modules and workshops, as well as a suggested protocol Download PDF Document  Download PowerPoint File for developing S.M.A.R.T. goal statements. Forthcoming: DESE will be publishing example S.M.A.R.T. goals in spring 2014 for all roles and responsibilities. Educators can contribute their own S.M.A.R.T. goal(s) by emailing
  • DESE has published tips and guidance related to strategic evidence collection in Part II: School-Level Planning & Implementation Guide Download PDF Document  Download Word Document, as well as the FAQ resource. Training modules and workshops related to evidence collection are also available.

I look forward to discussing these research findings on year one of the new educator evaluation system with the Board at your January 28 meeting. Associate Commissioner Heather Peske will be at the meeting to answer your questions.


Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Research Brief: Early Implementation of the Massachusetts Educator Evaluation Framework

Last Updated: January 27, 2014
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