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TEA News Releases Online May 3, 2017

Agreement Affirms Key Components of Teacher Evaluations in Texas

AUSTIN – Commissioner of Education Mike Morath said today that all major components of the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS) remain in place following a legal agreement with various teacher organizations in the state. Student growth will remain part of statutorily-required teacher appraisal systems in either the state-recommended system or a locally-developed system a school district may wish to adopt.

T-TESS, the Commissioner-recommended teacher evaluation system for the state, is a system designed by educators to support teachers in their professional growth. The system includes three components: a goal-setting and professional development plan for the teacher; a specific evaluation cycle (including: pre-conference, observation, post-conference); and information on how well a teacher’s students grow in knowledge and skills throughout the year.

“The profession of teaching is incredibly demanding,” said Commissioner Morath. “It requires dedication and energy, but it also requires a commitment to continuously learn and adjust. In designing T-TESS, we relied heavily on input from teachers who wanted meaningful feedback on how well students are learning, so they could strengthen classroom instruction.”

Under the agreement, the student growth measure remains part of teacher appraisals. The Commissioner will remove the reference to the four ways to measure student growth to ensure that districts are clear about the flexibility they have in choosing how student growth is measured. Commissioner Morath noted that this flexibility is important. Determining how much growth students have achieved in an art class, for example, may involve a review of a student’s portfolio of work. On the other hand, math teachers may benefit more from feedback based on calculations of how much value was added between math assessments. 

The agreement also confirmed the requirement that every Texas school district appraise each teacher based on how that specific individual teacher’s students progress academically, as opposed to solely giving feedback to an individual teacher based on the growth of all students at a school. This applies to both the Commissioner’s appraisal system and any local appraisal system a school district may wish to adopt.

The Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System has been piloted in more than 200 school districts and charters around the state. It is currently being used in more than 1,000 school districts. To learn more about T-TESS, visit the Texas Education Agency’s web page at http://tea.texas.gov/Texas_Educators/Educator_Evaluation_and_Support_System/Texas_Teacher_Evaluation_and_Support_System/