First Year of Educator Evaluation Ratings Show Majority of Teachers in Massachusetts Performing at High Levels- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
For Immediate Release
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Contact:JC Considine 781-338-3112

First Year of Educator Evaluation Ratings Show Majority of Teachers in Massachusetts Performing at High Levels

State's New Evaluation System Designed to Provide Educators with Meaningful Feedback to Benefit Students and Educators Alike

MALDEN - The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education today released the first set of performance ratings under the state's new educator evaluation system, showing that the vast majority of teachers and administrators who were evaluated last year received a solid performance rating.

During the 2012-13 school year, 37,940 educators in 213 Race to the Top districts were evaluated – or 61.8 percent of educators in those districts, which was above the required 50 percent for last year. Statewide, 85.2 percent of educators evaluated last year were Proficient. Smaller percentages of educators received the highest performance rating of Exemplary (7.4 percent) or a rating of Needs Improvement (6.8 percent). Less than one percent of educators were rated as Unsatisfactory (0.7 percent).

The state's new evaluation system is designed to provide teachers and administrators with more meaningful feedback than ever before to improve their practice and support them to become better educators. Data from the first year already shows that evaluators are differentiating performance among educators. When fully implemented, the new system will require all public school districts in Massachusetts to evaluate every educator and will help discern where educators are performing well, where there is room for improvement, and how we can best support the development of all educators.

"Our students are leading the nation in reading and mathematics achievement, so it is not surprising that we also have some of the best teachers in the country here in Massachusetts," said Education Secretary Matthew Malone. "This is a good first step forward in our efforts to help support the teachers we have across the Commonwealth. We will continue to expand the new evaluation system in the coming years to provide teachers and administrators with more meaningful feedback to improve their practice and support them in being great teachers."

"No other component of schooling comes close to having the magnitude of influence on student achievement than a teacher's effectiveness," said Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell D. Chester. "Our new educator evaluation system builds on our investment in education reform and promotes opportunities for teachers and administrators to improve their practice and better serve students in their classrooms and schools."

"The state's new evaluation system has a core belief that every educator can make continuous improvement," said Thomas Scott, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents. "At this early stage of implementation, it's important that we examine and analyze the data with an opportunity to refine our own expectations and skills. Ultimately, this will lead to stronger instructional practice for all students."

"These initial results confirm what we know – the vast majority of Massachusetts educators are very good at what they do," said Paul Toner, President of the Massachusetts Teachers Association. "As we continue to roll out this new system, people should not draw conclusions about relative school quality based on these results since professional judgment and local context will inevitably lead to some differences in how administrators apply the new ratings. The goal of evaluation is to help identify educators' strengths and weaknesses so we can improve teaching and learning in all schools."

Two years ago, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted regulations that place educator practice and student learning at the center of evaluations. The regulations provide educators with greater feedback and opportunities to support their continuous improvement, while also shortening the timelines for improvement. They also set a high bar for attaining teacher tenure.

Under the new system, every educator is an active participant in her or his own evaluation. The new process promotes collaboration and continuous learning to support solid teachers and principals become even better and learn from the best. For those in need of improvement, the system provides the opportunity to grown and become solid educators.

Every educator, including superintendents, principals, and teachers, takes part in a five-step evaluation process that includes self-assessment; analysis, goal setting, and plan development; implementation of the plan; a formative assessment/evaluation; and a summative evaluation. Evaluators rate educators using multiple categories of evidence: (1) multiple measures of student learning, growth, and achievement, including MCAS growth scores where available; (2) judgment based on observations, including unannounced observations; and (3) evidence of fulfillment of both professional practice and student learning goals.

In turn, every educator will earn two ratings – a Summative Performance Rating (Exemplary, Proficient, Needs Improvement, or Unsatisfactory) and an Impact Rating on Student Performance (High, Moderate, or Low). Experienced, effective educators are placed on educator plans of a longer duration that offer them more autonomy. Specifically, the summative rating will determine the four types of educator plans for each educator. These plans are designed to provide educators with meaningful feedback and support. The plans include:

  • Self-Directed Growth Plan – a one or two-year plan for experienced educators who were rated Proficient or Exemplary on their last evaluation.
  • Directed Growth Plan – a plan up to one year in length for educators rated Needs Improvement on their last evaluation.
  • Improvement Plan – a plan for a minimum of 30 calendar days up to one school year in length for educators rated Unsatisfactory on their last evaluation.
  • Developing Educator Plan – a plan for one school year or less in length for educators without Professional Teaching Status, administrators in the first three years in a district, or at the discretion of an evaluator for an educator in a new assignment.

An educator's Impact Rating must include at least two years of data that identifies trends and patterns using multiple measures of student learning, growth, and achievement. MCAS student growth scores must be used as one of the measures, where available. Districts will not issue Impact Ratings until the 2015-16 year when trends and patterns across multiple measures have been established.

Under the state's rollout of its new evaluation framework, the 234 Massachusetts districts receiving Race to the Top funds were required to implement the new system and evaluate at least 50 percent of licensed educators during the 2012-13 school year.

Districts are ensuring that support goes to new teachers: 82.4 percent of non-PTS teachers were evaluated last year as compared to 65.8 percent of teachers with PTS. As expected, the evaluation data showed that teachers with less experience need more support to develop their knowledge and skills and improve their practice. Statewide, 13.5 percent of teachers without Professional Teacher Status (PTS) were rated Needs Improvement last year, compared to 4.6 percent of PTS teachers.

Other 2012-13 results released today include:

  • All Educators: Statewide, 7.4 percent were rated as Exemplary, 85.2 percent were Proficient, 6.8 percent were Needs Improvement, and 0.7 percent were Unsatisfactory.
  • Administrators: Statewide, 10.5 percent were rated as Exemplary, 86.1 percent were Proficient, 3 percent were Needs Improvement, and 0.5 percent were Unsatisfactory.
  • Principals: Statewide, 7 percent were rated as Exemplary, 88.9 percent were Proficient, 3.1 percent were Needs Improvement, and 0.9 percent were Unsatisfactory.
  • Teachers – Professional Status: Statewide, 7.7 percent were rated as Exemplary, 87.1 percent were Proficient, 4.6 percent were Needs Improvement, and 0.6 percent were Unsatisfactory.
  • Teachers – Non-Professional Status: Statewide, 3 percent were rated as Exemplary, 82.5 percent were Proficient, 13.5 percent were Needs Improvement, and 1 percent were Unsatisfactory.

Per state law, individual evaluation data submitted to the Department is considered personnel information and is confidential and not subject to disclosure under the public records law. The exception is data for superintendents, whose annual evaluations are a matter of public record.

For school and district level evaluation data, visit For more information on educator evaluation, go to

Last Updated: November 21, 2013

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