Educator Evaluation

Overview

The History of Evaluation In CT

Beginning in November 2010, a Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) was formed to establish the CT Guidelines for Educator Evaluation. These Guidelines were approved by the State Board of Education (SBE) on June 27, 2012 and informed the development of  a model teacher and administrator evaluation and support system, which was piloted in 14 districts throughout the state during the 2012-13 school year. In 2013-14 all of CT districts implemented the evaluation and support system with at least one-third of certified personnel. After this partial roll-out, in 2014-15, every CT public school teacher was evaluated using the new system.

In February 2014, PEAC recommended and the State Board of Education adopted amendments to the Connecticut Guidelines for Educator Evaluation. The Adopted Flexibilites to the Guidelines provide educators with greater flexibility in the implementation of the new educator evaluation and support system.  Then in May 2014, the State Board of Education adopted Revisions to the Guidelines put forth by PEAC.

CT’s System for Educator Evaluation and Development (SEED) is one model evaluation system that is aligned to the CT Guidelines for Educator Evaluation. For more information, visit the SEED section of this site.

The "Why" of Evaluation

Excellent schools begin with great school leaders and teachers. The importance of highly-skilled educators is beyond dispute, as a strong body of evidence now confirms what parents, students, teachers, and administrators have long known: effective teachers are among the most important school level factor in student learning, and effective leadership is an essential component of any successful school.

The purpose of the Connecticut educator evaluation and support system is to fairly and accurately evaluate educator and administrator performance and to help each educator strengthen his/her professional practice to improve student learning. Educator evaluation serves to articulate Connecticut’s priorities. The CT Guidelines for Educator Evaluation, established by the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) and adopted by the State Board of Education (SBE) on June 27, 2012, and amended in February and May 2014, give student learning the priority that it deserves. High-quality evaluations are necessary to inform the individualized professional development and support that an educator may require. Such evaluations also identify professional strengths which should form the basis of new professional opportunities. Evaluation processes are designed to promote collaboration and shared ownership for professional growth, renewal, and employment decisions.

Resources for teachers, administrators and educator and student support specialists are available on this site. If you do not find what you are looking for, please contact a Connecticut State Department of Education Talent Office staff member through our Contact Us page.

How Evaluation in CT Works

Teachers are evaluated based on student learning objectives (45% of a teacher’s rating), standards-based observations of instruction (40%), parent or peer feedback (10%), and student feedback or whole-school measures of student performance (5%).  Administrators are evaluated based on student learning indicators (45% of a adminstrator’s rating), standards-based observations of performance(40%), stakeholder feedback, including parents and teachers (10%), and whole-school measures of student performance (5%).

Teacher Evaluation

All local and regional boards of education are required to submit their educator evaluation and support plans to the CSDE annually for review and approval. The approved plans must be consistent with the CT Guidelines for Educator Evaluation which ensures all teachers within their respective districts will be evaluated annually. According to the Guidelines, the term "teacher" refers to any teacher serving in a position requiring teacher certification within a district, but not requiring an 092 certification.

The evaluation process has the potential to help move teachers along the path to exemplary practice and raise student achievement by clearly defining excellent practice and results; giving accurate, useful information about teachers’ strengths and areas for development; while providing opportunities for growth and recognition.  This premise for evaluation and support recognizes that our teachers are hard-working professionals who are in the profession to help children learn and grow.

Student and Educator Support Specialists

Educators in Connecticut are committed to ensuring that all students achieve and develop the skills that will enable them to become lifelong learners and productive citizens in a global world.  This responsibility is shared by all educators who work with students.  Collaboration between educators is necessary to help students attain excellence.  Under Connecticut’s educator evaluation and support system, all educators including Student and Educator Support Specialists (SESS) must take part in the evaluation and support system.

The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) recognizes the challenges faced by districts in the evaluation of Student and Educator Support Specialists (SESS). SESS educators are those individuals who, by the nature of their job description, do not have traditional classroom assignments, but serve a “caseload” of students, staff and/or families. In addition, they often are not directly responsible for content instruction nor do state standardized assessments directly measure their impact on students.

A PEAC subgroup, the Student and Educator Support Specialists Working Group, which represents many disciplines, has made several recommendations for making Teacher Evaluation more relevant to these unique disciplines. Read more about the subgroup's recommendations in the SESS white paper.

The CSDE, in partnership with SESS representatives from around the state, developed the CCT Rubric for Effective Service Delivery 2015 for use with some SESS educators. This rubric was purposefully developed as a companion to the CCT Rubric for Effective Teaching 2014 and parallels its structure and format to illustrate the common characteristics of effective practice across a variety of educators in the service of children.

Administrator Evaluation

The  superintendent of each local or regional board of education shall annually evaluate or cause to be evaluated each administrator who serves in a role requiring an 092 certification, in accordance with the CT Guidelines for Educator Evaluation. Except where noted as applying to particular job descriptions, the requirements apply to all roles requiring an 092 certification. Educators holding an 092 certification whose primary job responsibilities include teaching students, shall be evaluated using the requirements for teacher evaluation.

Connecticut’s System for Educator Evaluation and Development (SEED) is a model evaluation and support system that is aligned to the Connecticut Guidelines for Educator Evaluation (Core Requirements), which were adopted by the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) in 2012 and revised in 2014, and inform implementation of a model teacher and administrator evaluation and support system which was piloted in 2012-13 school year.

The SEED model was informed by research, including the Gates Foundation's Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) study. The MET study and other research have consistently found that no school-level factor matters more to student success than high-quality teachers. To support teachers, we need to clearly define effective practice, provide strong leadership, develop systems/practices that give accurate, useful information about strengths and development areas, and provide opportunities for growth and recognition throughout the career continuum. Connecticut's new evaluation and support system is designed to fairly and accurately evaluate teacher and school leader performance in order to help strengthen practice to improve student learning.

Teacher Evaluation - Design Principles

The SEED model for teacher evaluation, developed in partnership with Education First, adheres to the following design principles:

Consider multiple, standards-based measures of performance

An evaluation system that uses multiple sources of information and evidence results in fair, accurate and comprehensive pictures of teachers’ performance. The model defines four categories of teacher performance: student learning (45%), teacher performance and practice (40%), parent feedback (10%) and school-wide student learning or student feedback (5%). These categories are grounded in research-based and national standards: The Connecticut Common Core of Teaching (CCT) 2010; CT Core Standards; the Connecticut Framework K-12 Curricular Goals and Standards; the CMT/CAPT and Smarter Balanced Assessments; as well as locally-developed curriculum standards.

Promote both professional judgment and consistency

Assessing a teacher’s professional practice requires evaluators to constantly use their professional judgment. No rubric or formula, however detailed, can capture all of the nuances in how teachers interact with students. Synthesizing multiple sources of information into performance ratings is inherently more complex than checklists or numerical averages. At the same time, teachers’ ratings should depend on their performance, not on their evaluators’ biases. Accordingly, the model aims to minimize the variance between school leaders’ evaluations of classroom practice and support fairness and consistency within and across schools.

Foster dialogue about student learning

This model hinges on improving the professional conversation between and among teachers and administrators who are their evaluators. The dialogue in the new model occurs more frequently and focuses on what students are learning and what teachers and their administrators can do to support teaching and learning. To be successful, educators must master their content, refine their teaching skills, reflect on and analyze their own practice and their students’ performance, and implement the changes needed to improve teaching and learning.

Encourage aligned professional development, coaching and feedback to support teacher growth and variation

Novice and veteran teachers alike deserve detailed, constructive feedback and professional development, tailored to the individual needs of their classrooms and students. SEED promotes a shared language of excellence to which professional development, coaching and feedback can align to improve practice. John Hattie’s (2008), research revealed that feedback was among the most powerful influences on achievement.

Ensure feasibility of implementation

Implementation of this model requires hard work. Throughout each district, educators are developing new skills and learning to think differently about how they manage and prioritize their time and resources. The model aims to balance high expectations with flexibility for the time and capacity constraints in our districts.

Administrator Evaluation-Design Principles

The SEED model for administrator evaluation, developed in partnership with New Leaders, adheres to the following design principles:

Focus on what matters most

The CT Guidelines for Educator Evaluation specify 4 areas of administrator performance as important to evaluation – student learning (45%), administrator practice (40%), stakeholder feedback (10%), and teacher effectiveness (5%). Since the first 2 categories make up 85% of an administrator’s evaluation, we  focus the bulk of our model design on specifying these 2 categories. In addition, we take the view that some aspects of administrator practice – most notably instructional leadership – have a bigger influence on student success and therefore demand increased focus and weight in the evaluation model.

Emphasize growth overtime

The evaluation of an individual’s performance should primarily be about his/her improvement from an established starting point. This applies to his/her professional practice focus areas and the outcomes/he is striving to reach. Attaining high levels of performance matters – and for some administrators, maintaining high results is a critical aspect of their work – but the model should encourage administrators to pay attention to continually improving their practice. Through the goal-setting processes described in the SEED Handbook, this model does that.

Leave room for judgment

In the quest for accuracy of ratings, there is a tendency to focus exclusively on the numbers. We believe that of equal importance to getting better results is the professional conversation between an administrator and his/her supervisor that can be accomplished through a well-designed and well-executed evaluation system. So, the model requires evaluators to observe the practice of administrators enough to make informed judgments about the quality and efficacy of practice.

Consider implementation at least as much as design

We tried to avoid over-designing the system for 2 reasons: (1) the pilot provided a significant opportunity for the state to learn and adapt the model before full implementation; and (2) the model should not be so difficult or time-consuming to implement as to create excessive demands on those doing the evaluation or being evaluated. Sensitive to the tremendous responsibilities and limited resources that administrators have, we designed the model to align with other responsibilities (e.g., writing a school improvement plan) and to highlight the need for evaluators to build important skills in setting goals, observing practice, and providing high-quality feedback.