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Educator Evaluation

Evaluator Calibration

What is calibration?Why is calibration important?
Calibration is the result of ongoing, frequent collaboration of groups of educators to (1) come to a common, shared understanding of what practice looks like at different performance levels and (2) establish and maintain consistency in aspects of the evaluation process including analyzing evidence, providing feedback, and using professional judgment to determine ratings. Research suggests that most educators in Massachusetts perceive their own evaluator's assessment of their performance to be fair. However, when asked about the process overall, many educators perceive there to be inconsistencies both within and across schools in how evaluators conduct evaluations. Inconsistency leads to questions of fairness. Engaging in calibration activities can help evaluators and educators norm their expectations and ensure that all educators experience a meaningful evaluation experience.

Bottom line: evaluators want to deliver high quality, actionable feedback just as much as educators want to receive it. Calibrating expectations for educator practice and deepening collective knowledge of strategies that can help educators grow is integral to sustaining an evaluation process that will strengthen educator practice and improve student learning.

OPTIC: Online Platform for Teaching and Informed Calibration — Now available statewide!

OPTIC is a professional development tool supporting Massachusetts educators to refine a shared understanding of effective, standards-aligned instructional practice and high quality feedback.

Learn more:

Start planning your professional development today! OPTIC is available at no cost to MA districts and preparation providers through June 2021.

Screen shot of sample calibration platform task page Grade 7 ELA lesson on Emily Dickinson.

Calibration Video Library & Protocols

DESE is pleased to provide a collection of professionally created videos of classroom instruction produced by the School Improvement Network, along with sample training protocols and activities. These videos depict a range of practice — this is not a collection of exemplars — to support within-district calibration activities that promote a shared understanding of instructional quality and rigor.

Email for additional information about DESE's calibration training supports.

Last Updated: October 27, 2020

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.