Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Logo
Educator Evaluation

Rubric Refinement Project

Regulations require that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) update the educator evaluation model system as needed. Since the release of the model system in 2012, DESE has been collecting feedback from teachers, leaders, and community stakeholders about the utility and effectiveness of the model rubrics. In 2016, DESE began partnering with teachers and leaders to identify, draft, and pilot refinements to the model rubrics that would streamline content, clarify language, ensure that the rubrics align to and reinforce the important day-to-day work of teaching and leading.

Updated Model Rubrics for Teachers, Principals, and Superintendents

In 2018, DESE released updated model rubrics for teachers, principals and other school-level administrators and in 2019, DESE released an updated model rubric for superintendents and other district-level administrators. The updated rubrics reflect the following refinements:

  • Streamlined content. Updated rubrics have fewer elements due to the consolidation or removal of redundant content.
  • Clarified descriptors. Language is clearer. This makes it easier to develop a shared understanding of performance expectations and provide meaningful, actionable feedback to educators about their practice.
  • Stronger alignment to teaching and leading. Updated descriptions align the model rubrics more closely together and strengthen connections to critical instructional practices in Massachusetts (e.g. standards-based instruction, social-emotional learning, and culturally responsive teaching and leading).

Districts may adopt or adapt the new model rubrics, or use a comparably rigorous and comprehensive rubric.


  1. Are districts required to use the new model rubrics?

  2. If my district has already adopted or adapted the DESE Model System for educator evaluation, are we required to use the updated model rubrics?
    No. See above. DESE anticipates that the rate at which districts may choose to adopt or adapt the updated model rubrics will vary.

  3. What does it mean to "[m]odel this practice for others?"

  4. Why doesn't the new Student Learning Indicator have any elements or performance descriptors?

Read an overview of the changes to the model teacher rubric , including with element-level comparisons between the updated rubric and the original rubric and short rationales for the revisions. For information, please email

Last Updated: July 17, 2019

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
135 Santilli Highway, Everett, MA 02149

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.