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Educator Evaluation

Frequently Asked Questions


  1. Regulations
  2. ESE Supports & Engagement
    1. Communications
    2. Integration with other Initiatives
      1. Licensure and Professional Development
      2. MA Curriculum Frameworks
      3. Educator Preparation
      4. Other District Priorities
    3. Model System
  3. 5-Step Cycle & Summative Performance Rating
    1. Training
    2. Rubrics
    3. Goal Setting
    4. Evidence (including Student and Staff Feedback)
    5. Student and Staff Feedback
    6. Formative Assessment/Evaluation and Summative Performance Rating
  4. Student Impact Rating
    1. Implementation and Timing
    2. Statewide Growth Measures
    3. DDMs
  5. Data Reporting & Confidentiality
  6. View all


II. ESE Supports & Engagement

What is the best way to receive updates and information about educator evaluation implementation and resources?
Subscribing to our e-newsletter is the best way to receive updates. Each issue of the Educator Effectiveness e-Newsletter includes timely information on important resources and tools, and innovative practices from the field as well as details about upcoming events, deadlines and publications.

To receive the e-Newsletter in your inbox, please subscribe. You can read previous newsletters on our website.

Periodic updates are also included in the Commissioner's Weekly Update and can be found online and sent to each district's "Educator Evaluation Contacts" in Directory Administration. For more information about how to assign people to a function (in this case, the Educator Evaluation Contacts) please review the Directory Administration Guide.

Additionally, Teachers' Top Three from ESE is direct communication from the Department intended for teachers. Sent every other week, Top 3 includes information and resources relevant to teachers' work, reflection pieces written by current teachers, and upcoming opportunities to engage with ESE.
Subscribe and read past issues online.
How can I share feedback, success stories, and challenges about educator evaluation with ESE?
Educators and districts are encouraged to contact the Educator Evaluation team at The team welcomes opportunities to learn about implementation so tips and strategies can be shared across districts and inform the development of tools and resources.
How does ESE engage educators to learn about implementation?
ESE has several standing advisory cabinets consisting of current MA educators, including a teacher advisory cabinet, two principal advisory cabinets, and a superintendent advisory cabinet. Meeting at least quarterly, these cabinets provide feedback on current educator effectiveness initiatives including educator evaluation, licensure, preparation, etc. Cabinet members provide input on upcoming policies, provide recommendations for resources, and share their experiences as educators implementing educator effectiveness initiatives. For more information about the cabinets, including summaries of their work and information on applying, visit our Communications webpage.

In addition to these advisory cabinets, ESE regularly engages with statewide unions, associations, and districts by attending meetings with educators, presenting at conferences, and responding to phone calls and emails. A member of our team is always available at
Integration with other Initiatives
Licensure and Professional Development
How are educator evaluation and professional development connected?
Educator evaluation and professional development (PD) both serve to improve educator practice and student outcomes. The evaluation framework highlights PD needs and should be leveraged to identify patterns in PD needs within a school and across the district. For more information about how to align PD and educator evaluation, read the Quick Reference Guide Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document.
Do the Educator Plans required under 603 CMR 35.00 (Final Regulations on Evaluation of Educators) change the requirements for recertification under 603 CMR 44.00 (License Renewal)?
No. However, certain activities undertaken pursuant to an Educator Plan may meet the requirements for PDPs under the educator's Individual Professional Development Plan.
Can Educator Plans also serve as Individual Professional Development Plans (IPDPs) for license renewal?
Yes, the regulations for license renewal (603 CMR 44.04 (1) (c)) do allow for these plans to be the same. Given the license renewal cycle is a five year period and multiple evaluation cycles will occur during that time, there can be some challenges to combining these plans. ESE has released several example forms to help bring these two plans into alignment, including a version of an Educator Plan form and an Educator Plan Addendum.
Are districts required to align approval and endorsement of IPDPs with the Evaluation Cycle?
No. However, in many cases it will make sense to do so. Where appropriate and possible, the two processes may be combined to reduce the administrative burden on both educators and administrators.
How can the professional development activities in an Educator Plan count toward an Educator's IPDP?
Though governed by two different statues both plans must be consistent with the educational needs of the school and district, be approved by the educator's supervisor, strengthen the educator's knowledge and skills, and enhance the educator's ability to promote student learning. The Educator Plan specifies the kinds of professional development activities educators will pursue to improve their performance and promote student learning.

In many instances the professional development activities described in an Educator Plan will meet the requirements of 603 CMR 44.00 (license renewal).

ESE recommends educators and evaluators:
  • Use a goal setting and plan development conference at the beginning of the evaluation cycle to review and approve Individual Professional Development Plans and to conduct the bi-annual check-in and end of renewal cycle endorsement that are required under 603 CMR 44.00 during the Evaluation Cycle, if practicable.
  • Maintain a running record (by the educator) of the professional development activities undertaken pursuant to their Educator Plan under 603 CMR 35.00 to identify activities that meet the PDP requirements for license renewal under 603 CMR 44.00 and its accompanying guidelines Download MS WORD Document. ESE's Educator Plan Form Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document includes a column for educators to track activities eligible for PDPs. The Educator Plan Addendums are resources intended to guide conversations between educators and evaluators when completing Educator Plans.
Can I receive and use PDPs for attaining the professional practice goal(s) or student learning, goal(s) of my Educator Plan under the 603 CMR 35.00?
If the underlying activities required to meet those individual or team goals are consistent with 603 CMR 44.00 (license renewal) and ESE's guidance on license renewal, you may receive PDPs for these activities.
Are learning walks, lesson study, participation in a professional learning community (PLC), or other "embedded" forms of professional development acceptable if they are included in my Educator Plan?
Yes, if they meet the requirements specified in regulations and are consistent with the goals of an educator's approved IPDP. The Department provides examples of a broad range of professional development activities in its Guidelines on Recertification. These include department-sponsored initiatives; initiatives sponsored by districts, Collaboratives, or registered PD providers; school-based activities; as well as, educator designed PD.
MA Curriculum Frameworks
How can educator evaluation support implementation of the MA Curriculum Frameworks?
Educator evaluation should be leveraged to assess educators' skills for implementing the MA Curriculum Frameworks which represent key content and skills students should learn. Read the Quick Reference Guide on Educator Evaluation & the MA Curriculum Frameworks Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document to learn more about how these two initiatives can be aligned throughout the 5-Step Cycle of Evaluation. You can also review examples of Aligned Activities Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document by Standard and Indicators of Effective Teaching and Administrative Leadership Practice.
Educator Preparation
How is ESE aligning educator preparation experiences with expectations for teachers and principals?
The Candidate Assessment of Performance (CAP) is the new performance assessment for teacher candidates that takes place during student teaching. K-12 educators, educator preparation faculty, and teacher candidates worked with ESE to create an assessment of teacher candidates aligned to the MA Educator Evaluation Framework. This alignment promotes a continuum of professional growth throughout an educator's career-from preparation to full teaching responsibilities-and establishes a common language for talking about educator practice.

The CAP aligns expectations and process with the Educator Evaluation Framework by measuring candidates' practice on key Standards and Indicators Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document, and by employing a 5-step cycle. The CAP Pilot will take place during the 2015-16 academic year, and will be fully implemented in 2016-17, replacing the current Pre-service Performance Assessment (PPA). Teachers who have committed to be cooperating teachers, also known as supervising practitioners , for the 2015-16 school year should be aware of the pilot, and should ask the program supervisor by which assessment (CAP or PPA) the teacher candidate will be evaluated. For more information, contact
Other District Priorities
Can districts customize the Educator Evaluation Framework to support district priorities?
Yes. The Educator Evaluation Framework is most effective when aligned to locally identified priorities. Many districts go through a process of analyzing ESE's Model Rubrics and identifying particular elements or indicators that most fully represent district priorities. ESE has identified the inclusion of students with diverse learning needs as a statewide priority and has published, as a set of optional tools and resources, the Educator Effectiveness Guidebook for Inclusive Practice. Other resources that highlight districts' work aligning the Educator Evaluation Framework with locally identified priorities include this document chronicling the efforts of eight Massachusetts districts to support the capacity of their evaluators called On Track with Evaluator Capacity and the Transforming Educator Evaluation in Massachusetts (TEEM) videos.
How can districts use data from the Massachusetts Early Warning Indicator System (EWIS) in educator evaluation?
ESE released a three-page guidance document on how EWIS data can be used in the educator evaluation cycle. For information about how to incorporate EWIS data in self-assessment, identifying a target population, and understanding classroom context, you can access the EWIS guidance Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document. EWIS data is available in Edwin Analytics which can be accessed via the Security Portal.
Model System
The regulations refer to a "Model System" developed by ESE. What does it contain?
The Model System is a comprehensive educator evaluation system designed by ESE, pursuant to the educator evaluation regulations, 603 CMR 35.00. The eight-part series was developed to support effective implementation of the regulations by districts and schools across the Commonwealth. For an overview of each section of ESE's Model System, visit the Model System webpage.

The parts include:
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Part I: District-Level Planning and Implementation Guide
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Part II: School-Level Planning and Implementation Guide
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Part III: Guide to Rubrics and Model Rubrics for Superintendent, Administrator, and Teacher
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Part IV: Model Collective Bargaining Contract Language
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Part V: Implementation Guide for Principal Evaluation
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Part VI: Implementation Guide for Superintendent Evaluation
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Part VII: Rating Educator Impact on Student Learning Using District-Determined Measures of Student Learning
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Part VIII: Using Staff and Student Feedback in the Evaluation Process
Do districts have to adopt ESE's Model System?
No. Districts can adopt or adapt ESE's Model System, or they may revise their own educator evaluation systems to comply with the regulations. All evaluation systems are subject to ESE's review to ensure the systems are consistent with the regulations (CMR 603 CMR 35.00). ESE's Model System is fully consistent with the regulations.
What opportunities were there for educators to contribute to the creation of tools for the Model System?
Working with the field to develop and implement the evaluation regulations has been and remains a priority for ESE. To develop the Model System, ESE worked with 11 early adopter districts, 10 districts implementing the framework in their Level 4 schools, and 4 Educational Collaboratives. ESE also engaged a wide range of stakeholders from state associations.

ESE continues to engage educators in the development of resources, including working with statewide associations for specialized instructional support personnel to develop role-specific resources, practicing principals to develop performance rating guidance, assessment and curriculum coordinators to develop guidance and resources for the identification and implementation of common assessments, and PreK-12 teachers and administrators to develop ways to collect and use student and staff feedback as part of evaluation. Our standing teacher, principal, and superintendent advisory cabinets are also critical vehicles for soliciting field input on new implementation tools and resources.
What guidance and tools has ESE developed to support educator evaluation implementation beyond the Model System?
A significant portion of the state's Race to the Top grant has been allocated to support implementation of the evaluation framework at both the state and district level. This work includes the development of the Model System, the identification of support providers, and the creation of a tools and resources designed to familiarize educators with the requirements of the regulations and support effective implementation. To access these resources, visit the educator evaluation webpage.
What guidance is available for supporting special educators in the Educator Evaluation Framework?
The Framework strives to highlight commonalities across educators. However, because of the complex job responsibilities of many special educators, the evaluation of these educators within the Framework can represent a unique set of challenges and opportunities. ESE has provided a clearinghouse page containing available guidance for the evaluation of special education personnel, including guidance on using the MCAS-Alternate Assessment as a Common Measure and the Educator Effectiveness Guidebook for Inclusive Practice.

Last Updated: December 30, 2015
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