New Administrator Evaluation Requirements for 2015-16

Bob Kefgen's picture

With all the focus on teacher evaluations, the evaluations of Principals and other administrators often get left out of the conversation. Nevertheless, there are new requirements for administrator evaluations that took effect for 2015-16. Have you had a conversation with your central office about how you are being evaluated this year? Have you discussed how your district is going to comply with the new requirements? If not, your superintendent may thank you for bringing this to his or her attention since the same requirements that apply to your evaluation also apply for your superintendent.

What Michigan law says about administrator evaluations is not as detailed as the teacher evaluation requirements, but there are still several elements that are required as part of your evaluation. And just like with teachers, there is the outstanding question of how your district is going to measure student growth for your evaluation.

Here are the new requirements (with citations) that apply to administrator evaluations beginning this year (2015-16):

  • At least 25% of your evaluation must be based on student growth and assessment data—the same as what is required for teachers. The difference is that, for administrators, the data to be used are the aggregate of the data used in the evaluations of the teachers in your building (or the aggregate of the teachers in the district in the case of central office administrators). How should those data be aggregated? That's not defined, so that is a conversation you need to have with the person doing your evaluation (or the school board in the case of the superintendent). [Source: MCL 380.1249(3)(b)]
  • The portion of the evaluation not based on growth must include at least the following four factors [Source: MCL 380.1249(3)(c)]:
    1. Your training and proficiency in conducting teacher evaluations, including a review of a random sampling of the evaluations you conducted. If you don't directly evaluate teachers, but designate someone else to do the evaluations on your behalf (which is likely not the case for most Principals), then you would be evaluated on the training and proficiency of your designee;
    2. The progress made by the school (or district) on the school improvement plan (SIP);
    3. Pupil attendance; and
    4. Student, parent, and teacher feedback, and other information considered pertinent by the person doing the evaluation.
  • You must be assigned one of four effectiveness ratings: highly effective, effective, minimally effective, and ineffective. Note that this requirement was already in place, so your district should be doing this already, but if not, now is the time to start. [Source: MCL 380.1249(3)(e)]
  • If you are rated as less than effective (i.e. minimally effective or ineffective), your evaluator must develop an improvement plan for you and require you to implement it. The plan must recommend professional development opportunities and other measures designed to improve performance. [Source: MCL 380.1249(3)(f)]
  • If you are rated as ineffective on three consecutive evaluations, the law requires that the district dismiss you. At least under current law, though, this only applies if the evaluations are all conducted using the same evaluation tool under the same evaluation system. [Source: MCL 380.1249(3)(g)]
  • If you are rated as highly effective on three consecutive evaluations, your district may opt to evaluate you biennially instead of annually. If you are not rated as highly effective on a subsequent evaluation, they have to go back to annual evaluations. [Source: MCL 380.1249(3)(h)]

Two last notes of importance:

  1. There is language in the administrator section of the bill that is nearly identical to language in the teacher section requiring that districts "adopt and implement the state evaluation tool for school administrators described in this subsection." [Source: MCL 380.1249(3)(d)] The problem is that THERE IS NO STATE EVALUATION TOOL for school administrators (or teachers) and no other statutory or rule guidance. So we advise districts to disregard this requirement and instead continue to follow the legal requirements that were in place before this year. That is: " adopt and implement for all teachers and school administrators a rigorous, transparent, and fair performance evaluation system." [Source: MCL 380.1249(1)] This language is pretty wide open and it's not a new requirement, so hopefully your district is already in compliance and this isn't news.
  2. The items listed above are just the things that are NEW requirements for this year. All of the old requirements that were in place before 2015-16 remain in force unless once of the new requirements replace them. So, for example, the old language required that student growth be a "significant factor" in evaluations [Source: MCL 380.1249(1)(c)], but the language that went into effect this year replaces that with a requirement that growth make up 50% of evaluations. On the other hand, for example, the old language required that evaluation results be used to inform "promotion, retention, and development" of teachers and administrators [Source: MCL 380.1249(1)(d)(ii)] and nothing removes or modifies that requirement.

You can find all the statutory language in MCL 380.1249. Just click here to view that section of statute on the Michigan Legislature webpage. If you want to cheat but still look really on top of things, we've created a copy of the law with all the relevant sections highlighted that you can simply download by clicking here.

Hopefully, with SB 103 (H-8) making it out of the House Education Committee last week, schools will see some resolution on this topic before too long. But in the meantime, the best thing you can do for yourself and your district is to make sure that your own evaluation complies with current law.