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Educator Effectiveness


Spotlight on Racial Equity

Setting Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Sustaining Practice

The following evaluation tools aim to ensure that each and every student in Massachusetts has access to educators who nurture and cultivate their academic achievement, cultural competence, and sociopolitical awareness.

Culturally Responsive Evaluation Practices

At its core, teacher evaluation is a cultural practice, one that without intentionality can center the dominant culture and be influenced by the biases and experiences of those participating in it. In order to build and foster an inclusive culture around meaningful supervision and evaluation, it's important to interrogate existing policies and supports around evaluation. The following probing questions can help:

  • Evaluators might ask themselves:
    • What is my culturally-specific understanding of "good" teaching practice? How might this differ from what educators, students, or families value?
    • Am I aware of and sensitive to how educators might be showing up to their work, particularly as it relates to their experience of systemic racism and other forms of marginalization?
    • Is there intentional and supportive space for educators to self-reflect within the evaluation process?
    • How are race dynamics showing up in my relationships with educators, and how might these dynamics affect my feedback or how it is received (e.g., my own stereotypes and implicit bias, different racial power dynamics between evaluators and educators)?
  • For more insight into characteristics of culturally responsive supervision and evaluation practices, see Teacher Evaluation as Cultural Practice (del Carmen Salazar & Lerner) and Equity Visits: A New Approach to Supporting Equity-Focused School and District Leadership (Roegman et al.).
  • Educators might ask themselves:
    • How can I engage in the educator evaluation process to cultivate meaningful feedback and support that strengthens my knowledge and skills of culturally and linguistically sustaining practices?
    • How can I incorporate student and family feedback into my goal setting and evidence collection?
    • What inequities exist in my school and/or classroom(s), and how can I focus my professional growth on eliminating those inequities?
Alicia Thomas
"My evaluator shows me how to improve in areas that I'm struggling in and gives me time to improve. Rather than making my evaluation feel like a judgment of my practice, it really feels like a coaching session and I feel like I have an opportunity to improve."
Alicia Thomas

Best Practices

As educators continue to learn, adjust their practice, and adapt to the changing circumstances of teaching and leading, the Resources for Educator Evaluation Implementation focus the evaluation process on what is most important and supportive for students and educators. Many of these resources are listed as "Supporting Resources" below.

Prioritize Teaching and Leading Practices

  • The Focus Indicators for Teachers and Administrators identify priority areas for teaching and leading around which to focus feedback, support, and collaboration. These resources help target and streamline the evaluation process in support of culturally responsive practice.
    • Focus Indicators for Teachers: I-A Curriculum & Planning; II-A Instruction, II-B Learning Environment; III-B Family Collaboration; IV-A Reflection; IV-C Professional Collaboration
    • Focus Indicators for Administrators: I-B Instruction; I-D Evaluation; II-A Environment; II-B HR Management & Development; III-C Sharing Responsibility; IV-D Continuous Learning

Reimagine Evidence

  • As teachers and leaders continue to reflect and innovate on teaching and learning in a post-pandemic context, it's more important than ever to be open to new types of evidence of effective teaching & learning.
    • Collaboratively identify authentic sources of evidence based on educators' goals and Focus Indicators that will be most meaningful or informative relative to the educator's goals and identified Focus Indicators. Educators can focus on quality over quantity, recognizing that one piece of evidence could demonstrate multiple aspects of an educator's practice.
    • Look beyond observations and include evidence from a wide variety of sources, including student and family feedback. Given the fact that many aspects of an educator's practice, including relationship-building, social-emotional support and engagement with families, may be less readily observable, there is a necessity for an increased emphasis on a holistic collection of evidence.
  • For sample sources of evidence: Collecting Evidence of Teaching and Learning - Implementation Resource
    This resource helps educators and evaluators think about evidence collection as an important piece of ongoing reflection and continuous improvement during a year of collective learning, innovation, and refinement.

Encourage Reflection

  • Encourage educators to use the self-assessment tool to reflect on where they found successes and where they may need additional support.
  • Seek out student and family feedback to inform the self-assessment and goal-setting process.
  • Review self-assessments for trends to inform professional learning supports throughout a school.
  • Supporting Resources: Adapted Self-Assessment Tool for Teachers
    This self-assessment tool is designed to support (1) an self-assessment of one's own teaching or leading relative to practices that are critical this year, and (2) an analysis of your students' learning.

Leverage Shared Goals

  • Prioritize goals that aim to promote a more equitable and inclusive learning experience for your students.
  • Consider how educators' goals may shift in support of school or district decisions related to student needs after two unusual school years.
  • Encourage team goals during this time to support school-and district-wide priorities, and to reinforce high-priority teaching and leading practices.
  • Supporting Resource: Creating SMARTIE Goals Tool
    This resource supports educators to develop individual and/or team student learning goals and professional practice goals aligned with the Focus Indicators for Teaching.

Elevate Student and Family Voice

  • Our primary goal as educators is to support and serve our students. To this end, the Model System, as well as state regulations (603 CMR 35.07), require student feedback to be included as evidence in the teacher evaluation process.
  • Families know their children best. While not required, educators are strongly encouraged to include family feedback as evidence.
  • Supporting Resources: Adapted Student Feedback Surveys and Quick Reference Guide: Engaging Families through Educator Evaluation
    These resources support educators to gather and elevate student and family voices in the educator evaluation process.

Focus Feedback On:

  • What is going well and how can the educator do more of it?
  • Reference the shared goals and priorities of the school or district, then customize them to the individual educators' strengths and areas for improvement.
Christopher Dodge is the principal of the Orange Elementary Schools in Orange, MA, and a Principal and Teacher Advisory Cabinet member.

Questions to Consider

  • How can I more meaningfully incorporate student and family voice in the educator evaluation process?
  • How can I build in opportunities for educators to give evaluators feedback on their experience of the evaluation process throughout the year?
  • How can I align the evaluation process with our school and district goals?
Additional Resources


Please contact us at with questions, feedback, or for additional support and partnership around any of the practices and resources included in this guide.

Last Updated: November 17, 2023

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
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