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Educator Preparation

Frequently Asked Questions
2018-2019 Educator Preparation Reviewer

The Role

What is an Educator Preparation Reviewer?
Ed Prep Reviewers serve an integral role in evaluating educator preparation programs in Massachusetts. In order to operate as an educator preparation provider in Massachusetts, Sponsoring Organizations must seek and receive approval by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE). After careful selection and supportive training, DESE relies on reviewers to judge the quality of evidence provided by Sponsoring Organizations in support of granting continued or new approval. Reviewers help to guarantee that educator preparation in MA results in effective educators ready to support the success of all students.

What is the impact of a reviewer?
This spring, approximately 6,500 candidates will complete an educator preparation program in Massachusetts. By the fall, nearly 4,500 of these newly licensed educators will be employed in a Massachusetts public school. Approximately 63,000 students will depend on the knowledge and skills of these teachers and leaders each year. Through this opportunity, reviewers will directly influence the quality of preparation provided to educators in the Commonwealth. Reviewers serve an essential role in ensuring that educator preparation in MA results in effective educators ready to support the success of all students.

What are a reviewer's responsibilities?
Reviewers are responsible for reviewing, analyzing, and evaluating program effectiveness evidence. More specifically, this includes:

  • Reviewing materials submitted by educator preparation programs against a set of criteria Download PDF Document
  • Conducting a 2–3 day onsite visit, including interviews, focus groups, and discussions
  • Synthesizing information and writing clear, concise, and evidence-based summary statements
  • Supporting a team of education professionals in making final recommendations to the Commissioner

What makes a strong reviewer?
In order to fulfill responsibilities, reviewers need to exemplify four core values which act as the foundation of this work:

Exert Humble Confidence
Take strength in your selection, acknowledge the skills you bring, and leverage your experience. Be willing to recognize there are many ways to solve a problem or answer a question. Ask questions and take risks.

Demonstrate Diligence
Deliver on deadlines and commitments. Push past challenges with persistence. Own the fact that at times, this process will feel unclear but remember you are part of this courageous endeavor.

Pursue Evidence
Be relentless in the pursuit of evidence; look for it, use it, and have it. Embrace the shift to output and evidence-based evaluation.

Empower Each Other
Engage positively and by assuming the best intentions. Work to make connections between one another and the work. Leverage the diverse experiences and perspectives.

What is the time commitment required?
Time commitment varies based on the specific assignment given to each reviewer. DESE is willing to work with high-quality reviewers based on their availability. The overview below describes a typical review. Regardless, reviewers can expect to be engaged in the review at various levels of intensity for approximately 3 months between June 2018 and May 2019.

Training: Training will consist of one full day in-person session (8 hours) and 3–5 hours of calibration exercises and follow up with DESE staff as needed. Selected reviewers can choose to attend training in either August 2018 or January 2019.

Offsite: Reviewers conduct a document review during the offsite portion of the review process. This happens on your own schedule within a defined 3 week window. Reviewers typically spend 5–10 hours to complete the document review. Each reviewer discusses offsite ratings with an DESE specialist in a one-on-one phone call.

Onsite: The onsite consists of a 2–3 day site visit to the Sponsoring Organization. Post-visit writing responsibilities typically require no more than an additional 4 hours on your own time over two weeks.

An outline of the time commitment for reviewers' responsibilities is provided below. For more details about the timeline, please see the Formal Review Timeline for Reviewers Download Word Document.

Component of ReviewDescriptionTime
Training1 full-day training (in person)8 hours
Post-training CalibrationVirtual/email3 hours
Offsite EvaluationComplete Eval tools and upload5–10 hours
Offsite Discussion MeetingPhone conversation to discuss ratings0.5 hour
Onsite VisitIn-person, onsite visit to conduct interviews and focus groups2–3 days (full days with potential overnight stays depending on location)
Post-OnsiteFinalize Eval tools and upload4 hours

What type of training is provided?
Formal training, including a full-day training session and calibration exercises, occurs at the beginning of the review cycle. Initial training occurs in person during a full-day session in the June or September, depending on reviewer availability and review team assignments. Informal training continues throughout the review process both by DESE and with your individual review team.

Training will include a full orientation to the process, opportunities for review simulations, calibration activities, and performance checkpoints. The 2014–2017 cohorts provided overwhelming positive feedback about the training sessions.

"I have worked with the state on many initiatives in my role as principal and curriculum coordinator in a regional district. I have to say this was one of the more clear, focused and effective trainings I have been involved in." — 2014 Reviewer

"The materials and training are always helpful and insightful." — 2016 Reviewer

"I thought the in-person training was well-planned, effective, clear, and provided helpful guidance. The one-on-one call with [an DESE specialist] as well as her feedback was very helpful." — 2015 Reviewer

Will this work be compensated?
Reviewers do not receive monetary compensation. Educators are eligible for up to 30 professional development points for their participation. Reviewers are reimbursed for all food and accommodations required during the onsite portion of the review.

Reviewers gain practical skills acquired through training, deeper insight into educator preparation programs, and new networks of education professionals. Reviewers in the past have called this work a great professional learning opportunity:

"Try it! It is a great learning experience where you can meet and work with professionals that believe in education and the educational process." — 2015 Reviewer

"The review process is a great way to understand the criteria for preparation programs at a deeper level, learn from the meaningful work happening in other programs in our state, and learn from other educators in the preparation field. It is a thorough, valuable learning process! I took away many ideas and felt inspired to make updates to my own program upon return." — 2015 Reviewer

"I Love being a classroom teacher, but I am always looking for additional professional opportunities to help me grow as an educator. This was an amazing experience to further me as a professional!" — 2014 Reviewer


Who is eligible to be a reviewer?
While we do not have eligibility requirements for applying to be a reviewer, those who will be successful in the selection process will most likely be those who:

  • Have knowledge of and experience in the PK–12 and/or higher education setting
  • Work collaboratively with peers with diverse views
  • Possess an open mind on different approaches to educator preparation
  • Demonstrate strong communication and analysis skills
  • Have strong computer skills
  • Are rated Proficient or above on the Massachusetts Educator Evaluation (PK–12 practitioners)

DESE encourages all interested educators to apply, including but not limited to: teachers, administrators, professional support personnel, full-time and part-time faculty, district personnel, non-profit leaders, etc.

What does the application process look like?
Applicants must submit a complete written application that includes the following:

  • Demographic information
  • Skill survey
  • Resume
  • Short response questions
  • Supervisor Acknowledgement Form

The application will be available beginning on Monday, December 11th, 2017. DESE anticipates that the application will take approximately 1 hour to complete.

What is the timeline for the application process this year?
Application available: Monday, February 12th, 2018
Application deadline: Sunday, May 6th, 2018
Notification of selection: By Friday, June 15th, 2018
Decision deadline: Friday, June 29th, 2018

How many reviewers are selected each year?
The number of reviewers will vary from year to year based on the number of programs we are reviewing and the content expertise needed. Seventy-six reviewers were selected to serve in the 2017–18 cohort and the Ed Prep Team plans to bring on 60 reviewers for the 2018–19 cohort. Relatively high selectivity ensures that reviewers are part of an elite team that is committed and highly skilled.


What is the state educator preparation review process?
The Commissioner of Elementary & Secondary Education has the statutory authority to approve programs that prepare candidates for educator licensure in Massachusetts. Program approval is the process through which a program or Sponsoring Organization may receive state approval. Such programs may be offered by public and private higher education institutions, districts, collaboratives and non-profit organizations. Regardless of the type of organization, all Massachusetts providers are required to meet the same rigorous expectations for approval and undergo the same processes associated with reviews.

The fundamental purpose of state approval of educator preparation programs is to assure the public that educators who complete preparation programs in Massachusetts are prepared to be effective educators ready to support the success of all students in the Commonwealth. . To accomplish this, programs must prepare their candidates in accordance with the standards for licensure and Program Approval that are specified in the Regulations for Educator Licensure and Preparation Program Approval (603 CMR 7.00).

How is the MA state review process connected to the national conversations around Ed Prep?
Recent years have seen a greatly increased focus on educator preparation in Massachusetts and across the country, including the recently released U.S. Department of Education's final teacher preparation rules. The Council for Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) identified seven states, including Massachusetts, as early leaders in this work and formed the Network for Transforming Educator Preparation (NTEP) to develop new and more robust processes to support educator preparation and the evaluation of those programs. As part of this network, Massachusetts spearheaded efforts towards improving preparation through revised licensure, assessment, and data systems.

Reviewers' efforts are essential for improving preparation in Massachusetts and will be influential in the national conversation. It is the hope of DESE that our reviewers set a national precedent for the ways in which states hold programs accountable, support them to improve, and engage various stakeholders in this important work.


Where can I find out more about the work being done on education preparation in Massachusetts?
Review the application at Educator Preparation Reviewers webpage.
You can find out more about the review process at Educator Preparation Review & Approval webpage.

Who do I contact with additional questions?
Please contact the Ed Prep Team at with additional questions.

Last Updated: February 14, 2018
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