Evaluation Guidance

Scroll or click below to access guidance on the following topics:

2019-20 Evaluation Timeline

This timeline is intended to provide district and school leaders with a preview of upcoming deadlines and processes. Additional details will be available via the TEAM Update throughout the year.

Observation Guidance Documents

Throughout the spring of 2012, the department met with educator groups and created documents to assist evaluators observing content areas that have been more difficult to observe. The following areas are covered in the observation guidance documents found in the TEAM Teacher Evaluator Handbook:

Level of Overall Effectiveness (LOE) Scale

Qualitative data, student growth data and student achievement data are all combined to create a scale score (score range) between 100 and 500. Due to legislative changes made during the 2013 legislative sessions, the calculations for overall levels of effectiveness depend on whether a teacher has an individual growth score or a school- or system-wide growth score.

Score Range Overall Level of Effectiveness










TEAM Performance Level Guide/Educator Effectiveness Descriptors

TEAM Performance Level Guide

Guidance on Planning Observations

The spirit of the planning domain is to assess how effectively a teacher plans for instruction.   Use evidence from the lesson plan and the observation to rate the indicators in the planning domain.  A written plan, multiple pages in length is not the focus of the planning observation.  The focus is how teachers plan for instruction.  

Lesson Plan Requirements – It is important to remember that any specific requirements for the lesson plan itself are entirely a district and/or school decision. Furthermore, assessment of a teacher’s planning should be driven by what is best for student learning, and while most teachers will be assessed on planning only once during the year, districts do have discretion as to any additional collection of lesson plans.

Unannounced Planning Observations – For unannounced planning evaluators can collect a lesson plan after the classroom visit. Since the spirit of the planning domain is to assess how effectively a teacher plans for instruction, teachers should share the lesson plan that was used for the lesson observed.  Districts and/or schools should provide the parameters for what is required for post-visit planning submissions.

Resubmitting Lesson Plans – While the evaluator may ask probing questions in the pre-conference, the lesson plan may not be resubmitted for scoring purposes.  The planning score should be based on the initial lesson plan submission and the observation associated with this plan.

Purpose and Paperwork – Evaluation is intended to accurately assess every day classroom practice for the purposes of identifying strong classroom practices and areas of refinement.  If submitted lesson plans are notably different than the planning a teacher does as a normal course of practice, then the feedback an educator receives on that plan is of limited utility and a great deal of unnecessary effort is expended by both the educator and evaluator.  Therefore educators should not submit, and evaluators should not accept, lesson plans that are excessive in length and/or that only serve an evaluative rather than an instructional purpose.

Guidance on Additional Observations

In cases where a district, school, or educator wishes to have more than the minimum number of required observations for a teacher, the district must make a series of decisions.

1. Do you want to allow more than the minimum number of observations for a professional or apprentice teacher who previously scored a 5 on his or her individual growth score or overall effectiveness rating?

No: Deciding to only do the minimum number of observations is a perfectly acceptable decision for a district to make.  If this is the choice your district makes it should be communicated clearly to all observers.

Yes: Deciding to allow more than the minimum number of observations is an option that can take multiple forms and requires a couple additional decisions:

2. Will the decision to allow more than the minimum number of observations be a district-level or school-level decision?

School: Allowing the decision to do more than the minimum number of observations to occur at the school level empowers principals with additional decision making authority but districts should implement a clear process through which school leaders notify the district of their school-level policy.

District: Deciding at the district-level to allow more than the minimum number of observations ensures a consistent policy across the district.  This decision would need to be clearly communicated to all observers.

Regardless where the decision is made there is one additional decision that is highly important:

3.  Will individual teachers be able to opt-in to additional observations?

Yes: Allowing individual teachers to opt-in to additional observations is logistically challenging but responsive to teachers’ preferences.  Identifying a clear process through which to opt-in to additional observations is important.

No: Implementing the same decision for all teachers whether at the school or district level has fewer implementation challenges and ensures consistent expectations across the district.

Guidance on Walk-Throughs

Any teacher (professional or apprentice) who previously scored a 5 on his or her overall evaluation or individual growth measure will be required to have one unannounced classroom visit covering three observation domains, as well as two walk-throughs.   Here are guidelines for walk-throughs:

  • Time: Evaluators should spend 10-15 minutes in the classroom during a walk-through.
  • Focus: There are various ways that an evaluator can focus a walk-through, depending on classroom context. Some ideas include:
    • Focusing on an area of reinforcement from the first semester classroom visit with the intention of learning more about sand spreading successful practices across schools
    • Focusing on an area of refinement from the first semester classroom visit to support additional improvement
  • Feedback: Although walk-throughs are unscored, it is still important to provide feedback. A formal post-conference is not necessary after a walk-through; a brief, informal conversation, note, or email following the walk though to share immediate feedback is sufficient.
  • Documentation: Requirements for walk-through documentation is at each district’s discretion.

Guidance on Professionalism Scoring

Below are guidelines for scoring in the Professionalism domain:

  • Timing: Evaluators should not score the Professionalism domain until all testing is finished.  This will ensure that all educators can remain focused on student preparation for state assessments.
  • Scoring:  The Professionalism domain should be scored by someone who regularly interacts with the educator.  In most cases, this will be the principal or assistant principal.  However, for some educators it may be appropriate for a supervisor to score this domain.
  • Evidence for Scoring:  Below are suggestions of evidence that evaluators could consult when scoring Professionalism:
    • Indicator 1—Professional Growth and Learning:  Educator self-reflection observation forms or other evidence of self-reflection, active participation in post conferences, incorporating feedback into lessons in a timely fashion, evidence of growth across observations throughout the year
    • Indicator 2—Use of Data:  Evidence of instructional decisions based on data from formative assessments, effective differentiation based on assessments, use of district, school or grade level formative assessments to inform planning, evidence of adjustments in planning based on assessments
    • Indicator 3—School and Community Involvement:  Partnerships with community organizations and actors, productive member of PLCs and grade level teams, visibility during class transitions
    • Indicator 4—Leadership:  Evidence of planning with grade and subject peers, membership on leadership teams, mentorship of inexperienced or struggling teachers, effective planning for in-service days and faculty meetings
  • Professionalism Scoring Tools:

Guidance on Summative Conferences

Before beginning observations for the current school year, evaluators should have summative conferences with all educators to review their evaluation results from the previous school year. Oftentimes summative conferences occur at the end of the school year, but some may not be completed until the beginning of the following school year.

In addition to discussing scores from the previous year, summative conferences should incorporate the main components of a coaching conversation to help facilitate a productive conversation.

Required Components: 

  • Discuss professionalism scores
  • Share final qualitative (observation) data scores
  • Share final 15% quantitative data (if measure is available)
  • Explain when and how the overall score will be calculated

 Other Components:

  • Commend places of progress
  • Focus on the places in need of continued refinement.

Saving Time:

  • Ensure teachers view their data prior to the meeting
    • Incorporate this meeting with existing end of year wrap-up meetings or beginning of year initial coaching conversations
    • Note that there is no required form for the summative conference.; any documentation required is at the district’s discretion

 Coaching Conversation Guidance:

  • Begin the coaching conversation by communicating the purpose and goals of the meeting to help reduce teacher anxiety
  • Emphasize the need for teacher growth and improvement through changing and refining strategies instead of stating the need to “bring up scores from this year”
    • Use formative and summative data from the previous year to discuss patterns in teaching practices related to student growth
    • Provide specific strategies, based on your analysis of the teacher’s areas for growth, including timelines for regular check-ins

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