District-Determined Measures: Supports, Timeline, and Pilot Expectations
|To:||Superintendents and Race to the Top Charter School Leaders|
|From:||Mitchell D. Chester, Ed. D., Commissioner|
|Date:||August 15, 2013|
Through this memorandum I am providing you with an update on supports, timelines, and expectations for implementing the Student Impact Rating of the educator evaluation system. This update includes revisions to timelines that we are making in response to feedback we have heard regarding the challenges of implementing District Determined Measures (DDMs).
As educators, we are committed to having a positive impact on the learning, growth, and achievement of all students. This is our ultimate and most fundamental goal. Educators across the content areas have strived to answer an essential question: Does my actual impact meet or exceed the impact I aspire to have on my students? While no single metric can definitively answer this question, there are ways to build a more complete picture of how an educator's practice intersects with her/his impact on students. The Massachusetts evaluation system, with its two independent but linked ratings, is designed to home in on this intersection and to provide all educators with opportunities for growth and development tailored to their individual needs:
- The Summative Performance Rating is the final step of the 5-step evaluation cycle. This 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 goals.
- The Student Impact Rating is separate but complementary to the Summative Performance Rating; it is informed by trends (at least two years) and patterns (at least two measures) in student learning as measured by statewide (MCAS) growth measures, where available, and district-determined measures (DDMs).
In the 2012-13 school year, RTTT districts and charter schools completed implementation of the Summative Performance Rating for at least 50 percent of educators. In the 2013-14 school year, all RTTT districts and charter schools will implement Summative Performance Ratings for their remaining educators and all non-RTTT districts will implement with at least 50 percent of their educators.
While many districts have made steady progress in selecting and piloting DDMs - some districts are already well underway with this work - realization of the Student Impact Rating will continue over the next several years. The remainder of this memorandum provides an updated timeline and expectations for selecting, piloting, and implementing DDMs.
Implementation Plan Timeline Extension
In direct response to requests for additional time to do this work thoughtfully and in collaboration with your educators, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) revised its timeline for implementing the Student Impact Rating. In April, I announced that for districts that have yet to begin DDM implementation, the 2013-2014 school year will be a year for identifying and piloting DDMs. At a minimum, districts must pilot DDMs in five areas during the 2013-14 school year.
April 2013 Timeline Revision
|Original Timeline||Collect data (Year1)||Collect data (Year 2), Issue 1st Student Impact Ratings||Collect data,Issue Student Impact Ratings|
|Revised Timeline (as of April 2013)||Research and pilot potential DDMs||Collect data (Year1)||Collect data (Year 2), Issue 1st Student Impact Ratings|
On July 19, 2013, I announced at the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents' Executive Institute my intention, subject to approval by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, to provide further modifications to the due dates for DDM implementation plans. These modifications include an opportunity for districts to apply for a one-year extension of the implementation of DDMs for grade(s)/subject(s) or course(s) for which the district will not have identified DDMs by the second half of the 2013-14 school year. Such extensions will be conditioned on ongoing district progress in implementing DDMs and a clear plan for utilizing the extension (more details below). Blanket extensions will not be granted.
An extension will allow extra time to districts that are unable to fully implement DDMs during the 2014-15 school year. Districts should use this process judiciously. In fact, I am aware that many districts will not need to seek an extension, as they are on pace to begin DDM implementation during the 2014-15 school year. In all cases, I expect districts to continue identifying and piloting DDMs with due diligence during the 2013-14 school year.
July 19, 2013 Timeline Revision
- RTTT districts and charter schools determine and report Summative Performance Ratings for all educators.
- Non-RTTT districts determine and report Summative Performance Ratings for at least 50 percent of educators
- All districts and RTTT charter schools pilot DDMs.
- September 2013 - By the end of September all districts and RTTT charter schools must submit a list of the DDMs to be piloted during the 2013-14 school year.
- Access the submission template here: http://www.doe.mass.edu/edeval/ddm/.
- Note: This list must include at least one potential DDM to be piloted in each of the following five areas (as identified in the April memorandum):
- Early grade (K-3) literacy
- Early grade (K-3) math
- Middle grade (5-8) math
- High school writing to text
- Traditionally non-tested grades and subjects (e.g., fine arts, music, p.e.)
- December 2013 - In December, ESE intends to release the June 2014 submission template and DDM implementation extension request form.
- February 2014 - The previously announced deadline for all districts and RTTT charter schools to submit the final plan for implementing DDMs was February 21, 2014. Based on feedback from the field, I have shifted this deadline to June 1, 2014 to allow more time for piloting.
- June 2014 - By June 1, 2014, all districts and RTTT charter schools must submit their final plans for implementing statewide (MCAS) growth measures and DDMs for the purpose of collecting Year 1 Student Impact Rating data during the 2014-15 school year.
- Note: ESE recognizes that some districts may pilot DDMs that require an end-of-year or end-of-course assessment to be administered after the June submission. Districts will have the opportunity to update their implementation plans, as needed, based on pilot results.
- Note: In conjunction with the June submission, districts may request an extension of the time to implement DDMs for specific grades/subjects or courses for which DDMs have not yet been identified. Such requests will be evaluated on a district-by-district basis and must be supported by a rationale that includes a statement of the efforts made to date to identify DDMs for the specified grade(s)/subject(s) or course(s), as well as a plan for how the district will use an additional year to research and pilot potential DDMs.
Any district seeking a one-year extension of the implementation of DDMs for specific grades/subjects or courses must present a plan that shows the district is implementing DDMs on schedule for some grades/subjects or courses, including the five required 2013-14 DDM pilot areas (initial implementation in 2014-15, Student Impact Ratings calculated at the conclusion of the 2015-16 school year). Consideration of an extension is not consideration of a delay, pause, or moratorium on implementation of the new educator evaluation system.
For all districts, whether or not they pursue an extension for some grades/subjects or courses, evaluations conducted during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years must be used to continually improve instruction; meaningfully differentiate performance using the four performance levels (exemplary, proficient, needs improvement, and unsatisfactory); measure student learning through the implemented DDMs; include frequent observations that result in clear, timely, and useful feedback to drive support and professional development; and result in Summative Performance Ratings as well as Student Impact Ratings where trends and patterns have been established using statewide growth measures and DDMs.
- All districts and RTTT charter schools determine and report Summative Performance Ratings for all educators.
- All districts and RTTT charter schools implement DDMs and collect Year 1 Student Impact Rating data for all educators (with the exception of educators who teach the particular grades/subjects or courses for which a district has received an extension).
- All districts and RTTT charter schools determine and report Summative Performance Ratings for all educators.
- All districts and RTTT charter schools implement DDMs, collect Year 2 Student Impact Rating, and determine and report Student Impact Ratings for all educators (with the exception of educators who teach the particular grades/subjects or courses for which a district has received an extension).
Support for Implementing Evaluations in Tandem with New Curriculum Frameworks
I understand that the work of building a coherent district strategy for the rollout of new educator evaluation systems in conjunction with the implementation of new ELA and Mathematics Curriculum Frameworks is challenging. To this end, during the 2013-14 school year, ESE will provide support and technical assistance to help districts integrate implementation of the new educator evaluation system and implementation of the shifts in curriculum and instruction embedded in the new ELA and math Curriculum Frameworks. In particular, ESE will make available a series of resources, technical assistance, and professional development aimed at helping districts build comprehensive plans for integrating these two key initiatives, with a focus on the five required DDM pilot areas. The supports include:
- Sample DDMs in the five required pilot areas by the end of August to provide options for districts to pilot.
- Technical Assistance and Networking sessions on September 19th in three regions focused on DDM pilot plans in the five focus areas.
- Additional Model Curriculum Units, which include curriculum-embedded performance assessments, in August, September and November.
- Guidance on the use of curriculum-embedded performance assessments as part of a DDM-strategy.
- Professional development for evaluators on how to focus on shifts embedded in the new ELA and math Curriculum Frameworks during classroom observations.
- Professional development for evaluators on how to administer and score DDMs and use them to determine high, moderate or low growth, focused on the five required DDM pilot areas.
- A Curriculum Summit in November that will include breakout sessions related to the five required DDM pilot areas.
- A new grant opportunity, the Professional Practice Innovation Grant, to support district initiatives that build the capacity of teachers and administrators to implement the rigorous standards of the Curriculum Frameworks, in ways fully aligned with the educator evaluation system. Interested districts can learn more here: http://www.doe.mass.edu/grants/grants14/rfp/213.html.
Additionally, ESE will provide forthcoming support to ensure districts are positioned to well-implement DDMs and determine Student Impact Ratings:
- Technical Guide B will be released shortly to assist districts in the practical application of assessment concepts to piloting potential DDMs and measuring student growth.
- Model collective bargaining language related to the Student Impact Rating and DDMs is under development.
- An ongoing Assessment Literacy webinar series are available. Register here: http://www.doe.mass.edu/edeval/ddm/webinar.html.
- Guidance on constructing local growth scores and growth models will be released.
- Guidance on determining Student Impact Rating will be released.
Three Suggestions for Piloting DDMs:
As you continue planning your potential DDM pilots, please keep these ideas in mind:
- First, collaboration with and among educators is paramount. Involve your educators in developing and/or evaluating potential DDMs. Harkening back to the Introduction section, educators are invested in the pursuit of information that will help them gauge their impact on students. Effective educators across the Commonwealth ask themselves, "Did my students learn today? How much did they learn? How do I know?" The Student Impact Rating and DDMs scale-up processes that great teachers have long had in place by establishing common measures across a district.
- Second, take advantage of a no-stakes pilot year to try out new measures and introduce educators to this new dimension of the evaluation framework. Districts are strongly encouraged to expand their pilots beyond the five required pilot areas. Fold assessment literacy into the district's professional development plan to stimulate dialogue amongst educators about the comparative benefits of different potential DDMs the district could pilot. Consider how contributing to the development or piloting of potential DDMs can be folded into educators' professional practice goals.
- Finally, let common sense prevail when considering the scope of your pilots. I recommend that to the extent practicable, districts pilot each potential DDM in at least one class in each school in the district where the appropriate grade/subject or course is taught. There is likely to be considerable educator interest in piloting potential DDMs in a no-stakes environment before year 1 data collection commences, so bear that in mind when determining scope.
I want to acknowledge the strong early work several districts have engaged in to be well positioned for piloting and eventual implementation. For example, Norwell Public Schools has already piloted DDMs for a wide array of educator roles, including teachers of art, music, and physical education, as well as guidance counselors, nurses, and school psychologists. Educators in Norwell received rigorous assessment literacy and data analysis professional development that enabled them to engage deeply in the process of refining their potential DDMs. West Springfield has partnered with the Lower Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative to coordinate a DDM development project with several area districts. Their initial focus is to enlist educators to assist with the development of a common scoring rubric for a 10th grade writing to text DDM. Finally, recognizing the benefits of leveraging expertise across districts to identify potential DDMs, Chelmsford Public Schools has coordinated a curriculum leaders working group that include representatives from twenty-five districts. Additional details about these examples will be included in Technical Guide B.
Thank you for your attention to this matter and your commitment to rolling out the new evaluation framework thoughtfully and completely. If you have any further questions, please contact Ron Noble at 781-338-3243 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to continued partnership as we work together to find new ways to measure educator effectiveness.