Understanding the Teacher Eval Changes for 2015-16

Bob Kefgen's picture

Michigan's current educator evaluation law puts new requirements in place beginning with the 2015-16 school year. Whether or not the legislature holds session in August, it is unlikely that a new educator evaluation bill will pass before the start of the school year. That means that schools will likely need to make some adjustments to their current evaluation systems to comply with current law going into next year.

Most of the "new" requirements are things that schools have known were coming and most have already put in place. Conducting multiple classroom observations and providing mid-year reports for less than effective teachers are the type of best practices that many Principals are already doing. But other elements, like ramping up reliance on student growth, may require an adjustment.

In the coming weeks, MASSP will be providing Principal's with additional guidance and resources to help you be prepared to comply with these new requirements. But to start, here's a breakdown of major changes that schools will have to ensure they can comply with beginning with the 2015-16 school year:

  • 50% of a teacher's evaluation must be based on student growth & assessment data. With the law requires that schools use state assessment data for this purpose, schools may not have any state data to rely on. As such, schools need to ensure they have robust and reliable local growth measures in place for all teachers in all grades and subjects.
  • Districts must use the most recent 3 consecutive years of growth data if those data are available. If at least 3 years of data are not available, schools must use all the data they have.
  • Districts may exclude data for a particular pupil at evaluator discretion with the approval of the superintendent.
  • Evaluators need to provide midyear progress report for their first year teachers and their less than effective teachers. This report must take student achievement into account, be aligned to the teacher's IDP, and include specific performance goals and recommended training.
  • Evaluators must conduct multiple classroom observations for all teachers. That observation must include a review of the teacher's lesson plan and pupil engagement. Observations do not have to be for an entire class period. There is an exception to the multiple observation rule: evaluators may opt to do a single observation for teachers with two consecutive effective or highly effective ratings.
  • The part of the law requiring automatic dismissal for teachers with 3 consecutive ineffective ratings goes into effect in 2015-16.
  • Beginning on 2015-16, evaluators may opt to do biennial evaluations for teachers with 3 consecutive highly effective ratings. If a teacher receives a rating of less than highly effective on a subsequent evaluation, though, the district must resume annual evaluations.

The Michigan Supreme Court's recent decision in Summer v. Southfield makes it even more important that Principals work with their superintendents and human resource directors to ensure their local evaluation systems are in compliance with the law. As part of this, we would encourage Principals to read through subsection 2 of MCL 380.1249 and make sure they have a clear understanding of the law's requirements.