FAQs for Educator Evaluation
The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) Talent Office has gathered a list of Frequently-Asked Questions from the field. Below are the most up-to-date responses to these questions. If your question is still not answered within the list below, we welcome you to call our hotline at: 860-713-6868 or use the contact us form.
Note: responses to FAQs are most applicable to Connecticut’s System for Educator Evaluation and Development (SEED). SEED is a model that meets all of the core requirements for teacher evaluation as outlined in the Connecticut Guidelines for Educator Evaluation.
If you are interested in modifying the SEED model or proposing an alternate evaluation system, it is essential that it meet the Connecticut Guidelines for Educator Evaluation.
FAQs by Topic for Teacher Evaluation (use toggle function with headers below):
- Evaluation Approval Process
- Teacher Evaluation
- Administrator Evaluation
Evaluation Approval Process FAQs
The primary goal of the educator evaluation and support system is to strengthen individual and collective practices so as to increase student learning and development. In order for non-pilot districts to decide whether to adopt SEED or develop their own evaluation system proposals, the CSDE has established timelines for the submission and review of district plans to ensure that they align with the Connecticut Guidelines for Educator Evaluation. This timeline provides an opportunity for districts to seek input from the educational community about how to best meet the requirements of the Guidelines and the goals of the district to improve student growth.
When are district Evaluation System proposals due to the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE)?
There are two key deadlines for the evaluation approval process:
January 15, 2013: The deadline for identifying an evaluation system (SEED, a district-designed alternative or a hybrid) for the 2013-14 academic year is Tuesday, January 15, 2013. This step only requires that a district complete an Evaluation System Selection Form in order to provide notification to CSDE as to whether the district intends to adopt the SEED model or will be preparing a proposal for an alternative model. On this form, you will indicate the direction you plan to take so the CSDE can gauge what districts are leaning towards and staff for the review process accordingly.
April 15, 2013: Districts that are adopting a district-designed alternative or a hybrid version of SEED must submit their complete proposal by Monday, April 15, 2013. However, CSDE will gladly accept and review submissions on a rolling basis. The sooner a proposal can be reviewed, the sooner a district can receive feedback and adjust their model as necessary.
More information can be found on the Evaluation Approval Process page.
All proposals will be reviewed and approved based on alignment with the Connecticut Guidelines for Educator Evaluation using a rubric. If a proposal is not approved, the district will receive comprehensive feedback regarding the elements of the proposal that need to be addressed in order to meet the Guidelines.
For all subsequent years, districts must re-submit their educator evaluation and support system plans including revisions, if applicable, for review and approval by the CSDE. Submission is required even if no changes were made. Such a process will be an iterative one- between the CSDE and district superintendent, until the CSDE approves the teacher and administrator evaluation and support system plan.
The CSDE will inform districts of the approval process timeline on an annual basis. More information can be found on the Evaluation Approval Process page.
What is the required composition of the Evaluation System Development Committee and the Professional Development Committee?
Examples of resources/trainings that will be available for the SEED model include, but are not limited to:
- Technical Assistance Days conducted by RESCs/CAS/CAPSS/CSDE
- TOT for administrators
- Online documents/tools/resources available on the SEED website
If I wasn’t able to attend one of the SEED Overview sessions, where can I get the information that was presented?
Is there a specific timeline/sequence that guides teachers and evaluators through the evaluation process?
- Goal-setting Conference: Target is October 15; must be completed by November 15
- Mid-Year Check-in: January and February
- End-of-Year Summative Review: May and June; must be completed by June 30
- Revisions to 45% based on standardized test results (where applicable): must be completed by September 15
- Reporting of status of teacher evaluations to local or regional board of education: by June 1
- Reporting of status of teacher evaluations to Commissioner/CSDE: by June 30
What happens to the evaluation process when a teacher transfers mid-year from one school to another within a district or if a teacher transfers mid-year to another district?
The evaluator should set aside time to hold a version of the Goal-Setting and Planning process with the teacher in order to make any adjustments to the evaluation model and/or goals, as they might differ from school to school or district to district. This will likely involve a review of all goals/objectives to ensure they are consistent with the new district-specific model. Since all district evaluation plans align to the Connecticut Guidelines for Educator Evaluation, many elements of the evaluation should transfer to the new district. The teacher would then continue the evaluation process with his/her new evaluator.
The evaluator should make every effort to connect with the teacher’s previous evaluator to consider the growth and progress made to date and can consider this evidence when meeting for the Goal-Setting and Planning process.
The End-of-Year Conference provides the opportunity for the evaluator and teacher to meet and discuss all evidence collected to date about student and teacher growth and to discuss final ratings for each category.
After the End-of-Year Conference has been held, the evaluator generates a summary narrative report of the evaluation before the end of the school year (no later than June 30th).
What if a teacher and evaluator do not agree on the summative ratings? What is the dispute resolution process?
Should the teacher wish to dispute an aspect of the evaluation process, he/she can follow the Dispute Resolution Process. As outlined in the SEED document, a panel, composed of the superintendent, teacher union president and a neutral third party, shall resolve disputes where the evaluator and teacher cannot agree. Pilot districts may choose alternatives such as a district panel with equal representation of management and union members, the district Professional Development Committee, or a pre-approved expert from a RESC so long as the superintendent and teacher union president agree to such alternative at the start of the school year. Resolutions must be topic-specific and timely. Should the process established not result in resolution of a given issue, the determination regarding that issue will be made by the superintendent.
Is it required that all SEED forms made available on the website be used? Can a district use existing forms or adjust existing forms?
Districts who are implementing modified versions of SEED or their own model can use these forms as a resource when determining the template for their own set of forms.
Note: the pilot sites are using a demo data management system that was developed by the vendor, My Learning Plan (see next question). Through this system, all forms are web-based and have been customized beyond the versions that are currently available on the SEED website.
Will a digital tool be made available to assist with gathering data throughout the evaluation process?
The demo data management system and relevant trainings will be delivered to pilot districts in October 2012 and forms are available on the SEED website.
Depending on the success of the demonstration, this data management system may be made available to non-pilot districts in the 2013-14 school year.
Category #1: Teacher Performance and Practice (40%)
A framework for professional practice allows for educators to define in observable terms the characteristics of effective teaching. It provides a common language for educators to be able to discuss the complex nature of teaching and learning. Multiple observations of teaching and learning using the framework leads to focused discussions about teacher practice in order to improve student growth.
The SEED model requires that in the first year of implementation, all teachers should be observed 6 times: 3 formal observations and 3 informal observations. Following the implementation year, the number of required observations would be based on performance levels as described in the SEED document.
Definitions of formal and informal observations -
- Formal: Scheduled observations or reviews of practice that last at least 30 minutes and are followed by a post-observation conference, which includes both written and verbal feedback.
- Informal: Non-scheduled observations or reviews of practice that last at least 10 minutes and are followed by written and/or verbal feedback.
Note: In addition to in-class observations, reviews of practice include, but are not limited to: observations of data team meetings, observations of coaching/mentoring other teachers, review of lesson plans or other teaching artifacts.
A pre-conference is an opportunity for the teacher and the evaluator to discuss the context of the lesson within the broad learning goals for the students, teaching strategies and learning activities that the teacher has planned to use and areas of focus that either the teacher or the evaluator has identified.
According to the SEED model, first and second year novice teachers and those rated below standard and developing must have pre-conferences for two of three formal observations. If proficient or exemplary, a pre-conference is not required for formal observations or reviews of practice.
Does each formal in-class observation need to include evidence for all 10 components within Domains 2 and 3?
Does a 40% goal relate to one of the four Connecticut Framework for Teacher Evaluation and Support Domains?
Do non-pilot districts need to use Teachscape in preparation for the Teacher Performance and Practice component of the evaluation?
Administrators in pilot districts who are using SEED have access to Teachscape in order to be calibrated on Domains 2 and 3 of the Danielson Framework. We expect this tool or a similar tool to be available for non-pilot districts that adopt SEED and are able to budget for licensing costs. However, the Neag School of Education study will inform the final determination of what tool is best for calibrating administrators to the state-selected observation framework.
Both SEED and the Connecticut Guidelines for Educator Evaluation require that districts (both pilot and non-pilot) provide all evaluators with training in observation and evaluation and how to provide high-quality feedback. Included in their evaluation system proposals, districts must describe how evaluators will demonstrate proficiency on an ongoing basis in observation, goal-setting and providing feedback as part of the teacher evaluation system. If a district adopts a framework other than the Connecticut Framework, they will likely want to research a tool that would be most appropriate for training purposes.
Can administrators observe and evaluate teachers if they have not completed the online proficiency practice hours and tests?
Administrators can take the proficiency assessment twice. After the second assessment, the proficiency practices continue to be available and the test will be available again after a two-week lock-out period. In addition, Teachscape will provide feedback to inform administrators of their areas of weakness and strength as evidenced by the assessment.
For non-pilot districts: Can a non-pilot district collect and document teacher evaluations this year and based on these ratings determine how many observations a teacher needs to have next year?
Category #2: Parent or Peer Feedback (10%)
For pilot districts, CSDE is contracting with Panorama Education, to provide support and feedback throughout the survey administration process.
For non-pilot sites- for a fee, Panorama is available to administer the surveys online or on paper, analyze the results, and produce reports for teachers and administrators.
If interested in Panorama’s services, please contact Panorama Education at firstname.lastname@example.org or (203) 747-8790.
Category #3: Student Growth and Development (45%)
Indicators of Academic Growth and Development (IAGDs) are defined as the specific evidence, with quantitative targets, that will demonstrate whether the Student Learning Objective (SLO) was met. Each SLO must include at least one indicator. Each IAGD should make clear: (1) what evidence will be examined; (2) what level of performance is targeted; and (3) what proportion of students is projected to achieve the targeted performance level.
As well, IAGDs should be SMART:
S= Specific and Strategic
A= Aligned and Attainable
For more information about setting SMART goals/objectives, please reference the Appendix of the SEED document.
The CSDE is in the process of compiling additional guidance around standardized and non-standardized assessments for all content areas.
Can teachers who share instructional responsibilities for students write the same SLOs and/or IAGDs?
Teachers who share instructional responsibilities for students can write the same SLO and/or IAGD and share the result. For example, if an ELL teacher works with a specific group of students to supplement the reading instruction of students in Grade 4, both the ELL teacher and the Grade 4 teacher can write the same SLO and/or IAGD(s) and work in partnership to achieve a targeted outcome for that shared group of students.
Currently, the CMT/CAPT scores for students attending a private approved special education facility are sent to the sending district/LEA and not to the approved facility. Will CAPT and CMT scores be available/provided by CSDE to these facilities/programs?
Category #4: Whole-School Student Learning Indicators/Student Feedback (5%)
Is it the district’s decision or the teacher’s decision to use whole- school student learning indicators or a student feedback?
If using whole-school learning indicators, does the teacher write a goal linked to the School Performance Index (SPI)? If SPI data isn’t available until mid-summer, how will this be applied toward the 5%?
The teacher does not need to write a goal to align to the administrator’s Whole-School Student Learning Indicator. However, teachers should determine the strategies they will use that would ultimately contribute to this indicator. For districts that use Whole-School Student Learning Indicators in teacher evaluations, a teacher’s indicator rating will be equal to the aggregate rating for multiple student learning indicators established for the principal’s evaluation rating at that school.
If the whole-school student learning score is not available when the summative rating is calculated, then Student Growth and Development will be weighted 50, and the Whole-School Student Learning Indicator category will be weighted 0. Once the SPI becomes available, the evaluator may adjust the summative rating if the state test data change the student-related indicators significantly to change the final rating. Such revisions should take place as soon as the SPI data are available, and no later than September 15.
Are districts required to follow the guidelines (and model) for evaluating a teacher who plans to retire in the coming year?
When would a teacher who works in a Birth-to-Three program with a 112 or 113 endorsement be required to participate in the teacher evaluation process?
Those working for a public school, including a RESC or state-approved private special education facility, will be subject to the new evaluation system requirements but may fall under the guidelines for the Student and Educator Support Specialist Evaluation.
Are teachers holding DSAPs, long-term sub permits, and resident teaching certificates (TFA), required to participate in the evaluation process?
If someone holds an 092 endorsement and supervises his/her department but also teaches two classes. Which model should be used to evaluate his/her performance? Administrator or teacher?
What are the evaluation requirements for adult education teachers in the credit diploma program (under 106 endorsement) and in the GED program (under 107 endorsement)?
If a district’s intent is to adopt SEED, and they indicate this by Jan. 15th, is there anything else they need to do/submit in April?
What is the research base to support the metrics (for both teacher and administrator evaluation) and to support that this evaluation system will lead to change/improvement (specifically, student outcomes)?
State reporting: Not later than June thirtieth of each year, each superintendent shall report to the Commissioner of Education the status of the implementation of teacher and administrator evaluations, including the frequency of evaluations, aggregate evaluation ratings, the number of teachers and administrators who have not been evaluated and other requirements as determined by the Department of Education.
Is there guidance about how to apply Administrator Evaluation to administrators who are hired on a contract/per diem basis (vs. employed as an administrator by the school district)?
How were subgroups figured into the calculation for those schools which have now met the threshold for accountability and reporting?
The CSDE is required to report Cohort Graduation Rates per the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and in compliance reports such as EdFacts and the Consolidated State Performance Report. The cohort graduation rate is also a component of Connecticut’s new accountability system described in CSDE’s approved NCLB flexibility request (or waiver).
The four-year cohort graduation rate is calculated by tracking an individual cohort (or group of students) from their initial entrance into 9th grade through to graduation with a regular high school diploma in four years or less. The calculation uses individual student-level data from the state’s Public School Information System (PSIS) that was submitted by school districts and certified by Superintendents. Additional information can be found on the Department’s website.