On April 13, 2016, TEA issued finally adopted rules for its new state-recommended teacher appraisal system, the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS), which goes into effect with the start of the 2016-2017 school year. 

Student Growth

The finally adopted rules require that, under both the state-recommended system and locally-developed and adopted appraisal systems, beginning with the 2017-2018 school year, each teacher appraisal shall include the performance of teachers' students, which the rules define as “how the individual teacher's students progress academically in response to the teacher's pedagogical practice as measured at the individual teacher level by one or more of the following student growth measures:

(A) student learning objectives;
(B) student portfolios;
(C) pre- and post-test results on district-level assessments; or
(D) value-added data based on student state assessment results.”

Note: TEA has published various documents stating that value-added data on state assessment results will only be available for grades 5 through high school.

TCTA and several others registered strong objections to this requirement in the rules in public comment with TCTA noting that the commissioner does not have statutory rulemaking authority in particular to require locally-developed and adopted teacher appraisal systems to include student performance defined in this way. Nonetheless, TEA refused to change the rules, which led to TCTA's petition for declaratory judgment. 

The rules also provide that if calculating a single overall summative appraisal score for teachers, the performance of teachers' students, shall count for at least 20 percent of a teacher's summative score. In response to TCTA’s and others comments about this provision in the rules, TEA responded that “a district may choose to keep summative appraisal ratings disaggregated at the dimension level. In those instances, teachers would only receive 16 separate ratings for each dimension of the T-TESS rubric and an additional rating for student growth. Each of those ratings would not be weighted, as the district would not apply a weighted formula to determine a single overall rating.”

The rules led TCTA to file a lawsuit challenging the commissioner's rules for locally developed appraisal systems.

Click the links below for a look at other key aspects of the final rules for teacher appraisal systems: