Skip Navigation
We use cookies to offer you a better browsing experience, provide ads, analyze site traffic, and personalize content. If you continue to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies.
Report

Teacher Evaluations under ESSA

The Every Student Succeeds Act ends the federal government’s involvement in prescribing and influencing teacher evaluation systems.
Published: 06/24/2020

The Every Student Succeeds Act has ended the federal government’s involvement in prescribing and influencing teacher evaluation systems. There is no requirement for states to set up teacher evaluation systems based in “significant” part on students’ test scores, which was a key component of the US Department of Education state-waiver system. The law permits states to design and submit their own accountability to the U.S. Department of Education.

Key Provisions

Accountability: Eliminates proficiency and Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) requirements, and prohibits the Secretary of Education from prescribing any aspect of the accountability system, including teacher evaluation systems or defining teacher effectiveness. 

State control: Requires states to develop their own goals (long-term, short-term, and interim), and to look at a broad range of factors to gauge school performance—not just test scores. 

States may design and implement evaluation and support systems that are based in part on evidence of student academic achievement. This may include student growth, and shall include multiple measures of educator performance or other school leaders, such as: 

  • (I) developing and disseminating high-quality evaluation tools, such as classroom observation rubrics, and methods, including training and auditing, for ensuring inter- rater reliability of evaluation results;
  • (II) developing and providing training to principals, other school leaders, coaches, mentors, and evaluators on how to accurately differentiate performance, provide useful and timely feedback, and use evaluation results to inform decision-making about professional development, improvement strategies, and personnel decisions; and (III) developing a system for auditing the quality of evaluation and support systems

Accountability state systems’ indicators for elementary and middle school differ slightly from high schools. The academic indicators must count “much” more as a group than the indicators that measures school quality

  • Elementary and Middle Schools: Four indicators (three academic indicators: performance on state assessments, may include student growth; English-language proficiency, another academic indicators and; one indicator of school quality e.g. student engagement, educator engagement, access to and completion of advanced coursework, school readiness, school climate, etc.)
  • High Schools: Four indicators: Academic – (three academic indicators: academic achievement, may include student growth/statewide measure of student readiness (CCR); English- language proficiency, graduation rates and; one indicator of school quality e.g. student engagement, educator engagement, access to and completion of advanced coursework, school climate, etc.)

Bargaining/Advocacy Implications

In Title II, the ESSA savings clause provisions are “rights-preserving” provisions, not “rights-creating provisions.” If you did not have the right to bargain evaluation (either as a mandatory or permissive subject of bargaining) before the enactment of ESSA, the savings clauses in ESSA do not give you that right. 

Likewise, if you didn’t have a state law covering a topic before the enactment of ESSA, the savings clauses in ESSA do not give you that protection. Rather, the savings clauses protect against ESSA interference with existing rights under state and local law and association agreement.

If your state law permits, but does not require, negotiation over evaluation, the savings clause language provides another opportunity. Review your existing state bargaining law and your contract for language on evaluation, joint committees, stipends for additional responsibilities, and other key provisions to ensure that where ESSA protects contractual and collective bargaining rights, the employer is not acting unlawfully in implementing ESSA. This review may also prompt your association to conclude that new language needs to be negotiated.

Under Title II, ESSA requires the local educational agency to “meaningfully consult” with teachers, specialized instructional support personnel, paraprofessionals, parents, and community partners, in developing a grant application that covers a number of issues including evaluation. This provision provides the Association with an opportunity to provide input regarding evaluation, even in non- bargaining states.

NEA’s Teacher Evaluation and Accountability Toolkit contains many contract language examples and guiding principles to consider when implementing or modifying an evaluation system. Some key points to consider include:

Are you an affiliate?

Jump to updates, opportunities, and resources for NEA state and local affiliates.
Mom and daughter reading

Help for Families During COVID-19

Families play a key role in helping students avoid the "COVID-19 slide." We've curated a collection of helpful resources and fun activities designed to keep at-home learners engaged and growing.
National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.