Revisions to the Texas Education Agency's teacher appraisal rules, which were prompted by lawsuits filed by TCTA and three other groups, become effective Oct. 10, 2017.

When the lawsuits were settled May 3, 2017, TEA agreed to eliminate from its teacher appraisal rules the requirement to use one or more of the specified student growth measures in individual teacher appraisals, for both the state-recommended and locally developed appraisal systems. The change will give school districts much greater flexibility in how to measure and weight student performance data in teacher appraisals as well as removing any reference to “value-added data” in both the commissioner-recommended appraisal system (T-TESS) and in locally adopted appraisal systems. 

However, “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 student growth measures” must still be included in teacher appraisals.

In releasing the final revised rules, TEA explained the following:

“The rules do not restrict additional factors a school district may consider. So in addition to considering how the individual teacher's students progress, under the local appraisal system school districts may also consider how teachers' students progress as a group. For example, a school district can have an additional collective component for eighth grade English teachers considering how all eighth grade English students have progressed. 

“Under the local appraisal system, there is no required weighting for each measure. If districts are providing a single overall summative rating to teachers, they can weight each component, including student growth, at a level determined by the district. Districts can also adopt an appraisal system that does not provide a single, overall summative rating."