Frequently Asked Questions
- ESE Supports & Engagement
- Integration with other Initiatives
- Licensure and Professional Development
- MA Curriculum Frameworks
- Educator Preparation
- Other District Priorities
- Model System
- 5-Step Cycle & Summative Performance Rating
- Goal Setting
- Evidence (including Student and Staff Feedback)
- Student and Staff Feedback
- Formative Assessment/Evaluation and Summative Performance Rating
- Student Impact Rating
- Implementation and Timing
- Statewide Growth Measures
- Data Reporting & Confidentiality
- View all
III. 5-Step Cycle & Summative Performance Rating
What is required training for educators (SISPs, teachers, administrators)?
Per An Act Providing for the Implementation of Education Evaluation Systems in School Districts
(Chapter 131 of the Acts of 2012
), "All school districts required to adopt and implement evaluation systems consistent with 603 CMR 35.00 … shall provide an evaluation training program developed by the department of elementary and secondary education for all evaluators and for all teachers, principals and administrators required to be evaluated."
ESE developed two educator evaluation training programs: a 6-part series of training modules
for evaluators and a 4-part series of training workshops
for teachers. The training workshops for teachers are designed for all educators required to be evaluated who do not have evaluator responsibilities. This includes (but is not limited to) classroom teachers, specialized instructional support personnel (guidance counselors, nurses, school psychologists, for example), and instructional specialists. For more detailed information, please see ESE's Quick Reference Guide: Educator Evaluation Training
In 2015, ESE produced a series of videos that explain the two evaluation ratings and each step of the 5-Step Evaluation Cycle. These videos are intended to support training on the evaluation framework for new educators and evaluators and may also be used by educator preparation programs with teacher and administrator candidates.
Per state regulations, "The superintendent is responsible for ensuring that all evaluators have training in the principles of supervision and evaluation" (603 CMR 35.11(7)
What is the timeframe for required training and is there a required certificate?
Timelines for training should be determined by the district. The state does not require educators to receive a certificate of training.
Does ESE plan to release additional rubrics for special education teachers, school counselors, nurses, or other specialists?
ESE strove to highlight commonalities across educators by only developing four Model rubrics. ESE does not plan to create additional rubrics. However, in partnership with a range of professional organizations1
, ESE has published a series of role-specific resources for school counselors, school business officials, school nurses, school psychologists, school librarians, occupational and physical therapists, and speech language pathologists. These resources do not replace the four Model rubrics but rather enhance them through a variety of approaches. For more information please see ESE's website on Rubrics
Can the rubric be used as an observation tool?
The rubrics are written to support educators and evaluators in making judgments about patterns of evidence, gathered across multiple points in time. Observation is a valuable way to gather evidence on performance against many, but not all, of the Standards and Indicators. The classroom teacher rubric, for example, includes many elements and Indicators that can only be assessed through means other than observation. The rubric has not been designed to be a classroom observation tool and should not be used for that purpose.
Do educators need to be evaluated on all four Standards every year?
Yes. Educators need to be evaluated on all four Standards every year
. ESE requires districts to report ratings on each of the four Standards as well as an overall Summative Performance Rating for every educator on an annual basis. For educators on plans one year or less in duration, they will receive ratings on each of the four Standards, as well as an overall Summative Performance Rating, at the conclusion of their evaluation cycle. For educators on 2-year self-directed growth plans, a Formative Evaluation
takes place at the end of year 1 (usually May or June), at which point they will receive ratings on each of the four Standards, as well as an overall Summative Performance Rating. Formative Evaluation ratings default to the prior Summative Evaluation Rating unless there is significant evidence suggesting a change (603 CMR 35.06(5)(b)
How many goals are educators required to identify during each evaluation cycle?
Educators are required to propose a minimum of one student learning goal and one professional practice goal (603 CMR 35.06 (3)(f)
). In addition to these two goals, superintendents are encouraged to propose 3-5 district improvement goals (see Implementation Guide for Superintendent Evaluation
) and principals are encouraged to propose 3-5 school improvement goals (see Implementation Guide for Principal Evaluation
). For more information about the goal setting process, review the Goal Setting Sections in the School-Level Planning and Implementation Guide
and the District-Level Planning and Implementation Guide
The Transforming Educator Evaluation in Massachusetts (TEEM) Video Series
includes local educators discussing the goal setting along with other components of the 5-Step Evaluation Cycle.
Can educators identify team goals?
How is attainment of goals assessed?
Much of the evidence educators and evaluators collect documents progress toward meeting goals. Specifically, the evidence collected should demonstrate completion of action steps and the attainment of key benchmarks. The evaluator should assess all of the evidence related to an educator's goals and determine the extent to which the educator is progressing toward each goal (Formative Assessment/Evaluation) and, ultimately, whether or not the educator meets each goal (Summative Evaluation). For more information, read ESE's Performance Rating Guidance
Do the student learning and professional practice goals required in the educator evaluation regulations replace the goals on the Individual Professional Development Plans (IPDP) for educators?
Are educators required to provide evidence for every Indicator on the rubric?
There needs to be enough evidence associated with each Standard such that a rating on a given Standard can be supported. The body of evidence should be aligned to the individual educator's goals, the focus of his/her evaluation, as well school and district priorities. Read our Evidence Collection Toolkit
for guidance and district strategies for clear and meaningful evidence collection. Additional tools and resources around effective and efficient evidence collection include a brief on Professional Development to Support Evidence Collection from Brockton Public Schools
, Analyzing Artifacts tools in the Guidebook for Inclusive Practice
, and TEEM video content on Evidence Collection
How many pieces of evidence are educators required to collect?
There is no minimum or maximum requirement associated with evidence collection. Educators and evaluators should agree on the expectations for evidence related to the educator's goals, as well as his/her practice across the four Standards. Educators and evaluators should think strategically about evidence collection, keeping in mind that one piece of evidence often reflects practice associated with multiple Standards and Indicators. For more information on evidence collection, review Module 5: Gathering Evidence
, Teacher Workshop 4: Gathering Evidence
, and the Evidence Collection Toolkit
Do educators or districts need to submit educator evaluation evidence to ESE?
No. ESE does not collect any evidence (such as artifacts of practice or notes from observations) from individual educators or districts. It is up to individual districts to determine how evidence of educator practice will be collected and retained.
Student and Staff Feedback
What types of feedback must be incorporated into educator evaluations?
Each district must collect student feedback for use in educator evaluations and staff feedback for use in administrator evaluations. Part VIII of the Model System
includes guidance on collecting and analyzing student and staff feedback.
Who is required to use student and staff feedback?
According to the regulations (603 CMR 35.07 (1)
), student feedback is a required piece of evidence for all educators and staff feedback is required for administrators.
Are districts required to incorporate feedback from students with disabilities in educator evaluation?
While the regulations do not specify student populations, feedback from a representative sample of an educator's student population should be incorporated. According to the Administration Protocol
for the MA Model Survey, "Collecting feedback from students with special needs is a valuable part of the evaluation process. Districts should make every effort to include all students, or a representative sample of all students, in their feedback collection. When students with disabilities engage in providing feedback, any accommodations must be consistent with IEPs and 504 Plans."
How much does student and staff feedback "count" in an educator's evaluation?
Consistent with other guidance, there is no point value or numerical weight associated with feedback in an educator's evaluation. Districts have the flexibility to determine how student and staff feedback informs the evaluation process. Student and staff feedback may be gathered at multiple points in the 5-step evaluation cycle and considered formatively, summatively, or both. ESE is recommending student and staff feedback be used to inform an educator's self-assessment, shape his or her goal-setting process, and/or demonstrate changes in practice over time.
What tools and resources has ESE provided to help districts implement student and staff feedback?
ESE has developed model survey instruments
for collecting student and staff feedback:
- Student surveys about classroom teacher practice (for students in grades 3-5 and 6-12)
- Staff surveys about school leadership practice (including principals, assistant principals, directors, etc.)
- Discussion prompts for K-2 students about classroom teacher practice
The ESE Model Feedback Surveys are optional
for districts and are available in short and long forms. Survey items were developed, tested, and refined through a rigorous pilot project in the 2013-14 school year, a detailed description of which is included in Appendix D of Part VIII
. The model surveys have the following characteristics:
More information about the ESE Model Feedback Surveys and related guidance is available on the student & staff feedback webpage
Do districts have flexibility in the identification of feedback instruments for educators?
Yes. Districts may choose to implement district-wide feedback instruments, such as student or staff surveys, or they may create processes by which educators and evaluators can identify feedback instruments at the individual educator level (educator-specific instruments). These approaches are not mutually exclusive, and leaders may settle on a combination of district-wide and educator-specific instruments in order to best meet the needs of all educators. ESE has provided sample alternate approaches to collecting feedback in Part VIII of the Model System
and the Guidebook for Inclusive Practice
Districts are not required to adopt the model surveys. ESE recognizes that many districts may already have a history of collecting student and staff feedback (e.g., through the use of surveys). The model surveys are an available resource, aligned to the MA Standards and Indicators, but are not required.
Were educators involved in the development of the ESE Model Feedback Surveys?
Yes. ESE is indebted to the 10,000 students and 1,500 staff who piloted survey items during the 2013-14 school year, and to the more than 2,200 students, parents, teachers, and school and district administrators who provided input along the way. For more information about the survey development process, including stakeholder engagement, read Appendix D of Part VIII
Formative Assessment/Evaluation and Summative Performance Rating
Does ESE expect a certain percentage of educator ratings at each performance level?
No. There are no expectations that a certain percentage of educators within a school or district fall into each Summative Rating performance level (Exemplary, Proficient, Needs Improvement and Unsatisfactory). Please note that Proficient is a rigorous yet attainable level of practice, indicating that the educator has met all expectations for a given Standard.
How do you evaluate an educator on Standards not covered by his/her goals?
Educator goals may or may not address practice across all four Standards. When evaluating an educator's practice related to a Standard not addressed by the educator's goals, the evaluator may use observational evidence, artifacts of practice specific to that Standard, and/or relevant measures of student learning, growth and achievement. Rubrics provide an organizing framework for evaluators when analyzing evidence related to Standards. Educators and evaluators should think strategically about evidence collection, keeping in mind that one piece of evidence often reflects practice associated with multiple Standards and Indicators. For more information about evidence, please see Module 5: Gathering Evidence
, Teacher Workshop 4: Gathering Evidence
, and the Evidence Collection Toolkit
What is the difference between a Formative Assessment and a Formative Evaluation?
For educators on plans that are one year or less in duration, the Formative Assessment
takes place mid-way through the cycle (typically January or February for a one-year plan). Evaluators may give ratings on goals and/or practice related to the Standards; ratings are not required. For educators on 2-year self-directed growth plans, a Formative Evaluation
takes place at the end of year 1 (usually May or June). ESE requires districts to report ratings on each of the four Standards as well as an overall performance rating. Formative Evaluation ratings default to the prior Summative Evaluation Rating unless there is significant evidence suggesting a change (603 CMR 35.06(5)(b)
How are student learning, growth, and achievement incorporated into the Summative Performance Rating?
Evidence of student learning, growth, and achievement plays a significant factor in the Summative Performance Rating in two ways. First, multiple measures of student learning, growth, and achievement are a required source of evidence. An evaluator will review outcomes from student measures that an educator has collected to make judgments about the effectiveness of the educator's practice related to one or more of the four Standards. Such evidence may be from classroom assessments, projects, portfolios, and district or state assessments. Second, evaluators must consider progress toward attainment of the educator's student learning goal when determining the Summative Performance Rating.
For more information on determining Summative Performance Ratings, read the Performance Rating Guidance
and associated practice worksheets
Does the Summative Performance Rating inform the Student Impact Rating?
No. The Massachusetts educator evaluation system is designed to allow educators and evaluators to focus on the critical intersection of educator practice and educator impact. Its two independent but linked ratings create a more complete picture of educator performance.
- The Summative Performance Rating assesses an educator's practice against four statewide Standards of Effective Teaching or Administrator Leadership Practice, as well as an educator's progress toward attainment of his/her professional practice and student learning goals. This rating is the final step of the 5-step evaluation cycle.
- The Student Impact Rating is a determination of an educator's impact on student learning, informed by patterns and trends in student learning, growth, and/or achievement based on results from statewide growth measures, where available, and district-determined measures (DDMs).
Taken together, these two ratings will help educators reflect not only on their professional practice, but also the impact they are having on their students' learning. The Summative Performance Rating determines the type of educator plan an educator is placed on and the Student Impact Rating determines the length of that plan for educators who receive a Summative Performance Rating of Exemplary or Proficient. A visual, video-based tutorial on the two ratings and their relationship to Educator Plans is available online.
1 Massachusetts School Counselors Association (MASCA), Massachusetts Association of School Business Officials (MASBO), Massachusetts School Nurse Organization (MSNO), Massachusetts School Psychologists Association (MSPA), Massachusetts School Librarians Association (MSLA), Massachusetts Association of Occupational Therapists/Physical Therapists Association (MAOT/APTA), Massachusetts Speech and Hearing Association (MSHA)