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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Additionally, ESE will provide forthcoming support to ensure districts are positioned to well-implement DDMs and determine Student Impact Ratings:
As you continue planning your potential DDM pilots, please keep these ideas in mind:
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 email@example.com. I look forward to continued partnership as we work together to find new ways to measure educator effectiveness.
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906
Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370
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