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. 

Teacher responses/rebuttals

Similar to PDAS, the rules provide for written teacher responses/rebuttals to a written observation summary, written summative annual appraisal report, or any other written documentation associated with the teacher's appraisal, as long as the teacher submits the response/rebuttal within 10 working days of receiving the documentation. But in a big change from PDAS, the rules put restrictions on when a teacher can respond to certain components of T-TESS, including providing that a teacher can only respond to Domain IV, and the student growth component, after receiving the written summative annual appraisal report. 

Additionally, the rules prohibit a teacher from submitting a written response to a written summative annual appraisal report for the ratings 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. TCTA protested this change in comments on the proposed rules, pointing out that there could be situations in which, in the written summative annual appraisal report, the dimension ratings have changed from what they were when the teacher received the observation summaries earlier, perhaps on the basis of cumulative data that was shared with the teacher but the teacher had no knowledge of how it would impact his/her ratings at the time. In response, TEA stated that “Teachers have an opportunity to respond to appraisal data when it is first provided to them. The differentiation in {the new rules} simply indicates that a teacher does not have a second opportunity at the end of the year to respond to the same data that was already provided to them earlier in the year and to which they already had an opportunity to respond.”

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