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. 

Conferences/written summaries/second appraisers

Another new requirement in the rules is that, after a teacher's first year of appraisal under the T-TESS within the district, an observation pre-conference must be conducted prior to announced observations. The rules also require a post-observation conference within 10 working days after an observation that includes a written report of the rating of each dimension observed that is presented to the teacher only after a discussion of the areas for reinforcement and areas for refinement.  At the post-observation conference, an appraiser can, at his/her discretion, allow for a revision to an area for reinforcement or refinement based on the post-conference discussion with the teacher.

In a change from PDAS, the rules require that, although additional observations and walk-throughs do not require an post-observation conferences, they do require a written summary if the data gathered during the additional observation or walk-through will impact the teacher's summative appraisal ratings, in which case the written summary shall be shared within 10 working days after the observation or walk-through.

Teachers who disagree with their appraisal can still request a second appraiser, like they can under PDAS, if they request one within 10 working days of receiving a written observation summary or a written summative annual appraisal report. However, in a change from PDAS, the rules restrict a teacher’s ability to request a second appraiser, in response to a written summative annual appraisal report for the ratings of dimensions in Domains I, II, and III, if those ratings are based entirely on observation summaries or written documentation already received by the teacher earlier in the appraisal year.

In response to TCTA’s suggestion, the rules provide that, in addition to considering cumulative data to evaluate Domain IV, a second appraiser must review the teacher’s GSPDP  for evidence of goal attainment and professional development activities when applicable. Additionally, the rules require that a second appraiser conduct observations and walk-throughs as necessary to evaluate Domains I-III.

End-of-year conference

Similar to PDAS, the rules require that an end-of-year conference between the teacher and appraiser no later than 15 working days before the last day of instruction for students.  But in a change from PDAS, rather than require that a teacher’s written summative annual appraisal report be provided to the teacher PRIOR to the end-of-year conference, the rules provide that the report must be provided to the teacher within 10 working days of the conclusion of the end-of-year conference and no later than 15 working days before the last instructional day.

The rules provide that the end-of-year conference must include a review of the appraisal data collected throughout the current school year and previous school years, if available; an examination and discussion of the evidence related to the teacher's performance on the four dimensions of Domain IV of the T-TESS rubric, as well as of evidence related to the performance of teachers' students, when available; and an identification of potential goals and professional development activities for the teacher for the next school year.  In response to TCTA’s comments questioning the validity of including consideration of appraisal data from a previous school year at the end-of-year conference, TEA responded that this requirement “does not indicate that past data already captured in previous appraisal ratings should be used again to rate a teacher's performance but that discussions about a teacher's progress and growth goals should take into consideration as much information as possible, including data from prior years.”

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