Evaluation FAQs

The following questions were submitted online on our Google form located here.  These questions were copied and pasted unaltered into this document.  The answers were provided by the administration.  Please continue to submit future questions to the Google form linked above.  This document will be updated periodically in the future. 


Professional Practice

Teacher Question #1: Does the formal observation “trump” the informal? 

Response: No, this new evaluation system was designed to prevent just that from occurring.  The formal observation, informal observations and other evidence from the binder should all be evaluated to create an accurate representation of a teacher’s professional practice.

Teacher Question #2: How many informal observations can the evaluator complete?  

Response: The evaluator must complete at least 1 informal observation.  However, an effort will be made by the evaluator to conduct multiple informal observations.  Multiple informal observations will provide a much more accurate account of what is happening on a day to day basis in a classroom.  The entire intent of this new evaluation process is to prevent the one day “dog and pony” show from determining a teacher’s rating.

Teacher Question #3: Does the informal observation have to come before the formal observation?  

Response: No, there is no set order for informal observations.  Multiple informal observations will provide a much more accurate account of what is happening on a day to day basis in a classroom.  The entire intent of this new evaluation process is to prevent the one day “dog and pony” show from determining a teacher’s rating.

Teacher Question #4: Is the informal observation announced?  

Response: No, the informal observation is an unannounced observation.  If it were announced, it would then become a formal observation.  Multiple informal observations (unannounced) will provide a much more accurate account of what is happening on a day to day basis in a classroom.  The entire intent of this new evaluation process is to prevent determination of a teacher’s rating based on one observation.

Teacher Question #5: Will more artifacts increase the chances of an educator receiving an “excellent” rating? 

Response: It’s about the quality of the artifact, not quantity.  Each descriptor has language under each rating (i.e. unsatisfactory, needs improvement, proficient, excellent).  Teachers simply need enough quality artifacts (i.e. artifacts that meet the criteria within the language) to meet all the requirements defined by this language. Please read through the language under the proficient rating level for each indicator to make sure all of it is covered by an artifact (Domains 1 & 4) or observed data (Domains 2 &3) located here

 Teacher Question #6: Will the final rating be given at the formal observation post conference?  

Response: No, the post conference is to discuss the evidence collected at the formal observation and any informal observations prior to the post conference.  This will primarily consist of observed data from domains 2 & 3.  The teacher can and should continue to make improvements as demonstrated by artifacts (Domains 1 & 4) and by data from informal observations (Domains 2 & 3) before final rating is given at a meeting set by educator and evaluator.

Teacher Question #7: Does the binder need to be complete for the formal observation post conference?

Response: No, the evaluator would like to view the binder at that time and start to document evidence after reviewing artifacts within the binder.  Teachers are encouraged to schedule multiple binder reviews before the final rating meeting. 

Teacher Question #8: Does the binder need to have evidence for every component? 

Response: No, some of the components are observable.  Domains 1 & 4 should have artifacts for every indicator and these artifacts should be selected because they directly align to the language under each rating level of these indicators.  Domains 2 & 3 are observable domains.  There may be opportunities to demonstrate evidence for specific indicators within these domains through videos or pictures.  However, most of the evidence for Domains 2 & 3 will be collected through formal and informal observations.   

Teacher Question #9: Can an artifact be used for more than one component? 

Response: Yes, it’s possible that an artifact could be used for more than one component.  Teachers are encouraged to label such artifacts carefully or make two copies to ensure the evaluator does not miss the artifact for either indicator. 

Teacher Question #10: When should the self-assessment be completed? 

Response: This should be completed as soon as the school year begins.  This will guide the goal-setting meeting that is the educator’s first meeting with the evaluator.  Goals will be set based on areas that are identified by the educator and evaluator as opportunities for improvement. 

Teacher Question #11: Is it possible to get a list of documents that fit in the proficient column for each section and ones that fit in the excellent column?

Response: All of the actual documents (not suggestions or lists of possible documents) that have been shared thus far have fit within the proficient category.  However, few of the artifacts alone suffice for the entire indicator.  Thus, more evidence is required to cover all of the language under the rating level to solidify a final rating.  Please read through the language under each descriptor on the rubric located here.

Teacher Question #12: We have no idea how much weight the informal observation, formal observation and binder are worth. Are these scores going to be posted for everyone to see? When will we get our binder back?

Response: There is no weight given to the informal observation, formal observation and binder.  These are all part of the evidence collection process to support a teacher’s rating.  These do not have scores to be posted.  The binder should be reviewed by the evaluator and then returned in a timely manner.  Teachers are encouraged to schedule multiple binder reviews before the final rating meeting. 

Teacher Question #13: I would like to know if the administrators have any concerns with the rubric and areas that they find difficult to score or if there is an area that they think is missing or needs additional attention.

Response: The rubric is written in very clear observable language.  Please read through the language under each descriptor’s rating on the rubric located here.  As artifacts are evaluated against the rubric, feedback should be provided on deficit areas.

Teacher Question #14: Why does the evaluation rubric and binder have to be a big mystery? 
Why can't we see a completed binder and have something to model our own binders after?  Why can't teachers have a clearer rubric to follow with multiple examples of what kind of artifacts are needed listed with each domain?

Response: There should not be a mystery about the evaluation process.  The rubric is written in very clear observable language.  Please read through the language under each descriptor on the rubric located here.  Teachers have been encouraged to share their binders and artifacts from the very beginning of the year.  There is an example binder located at the high school that any teacher can look through.  There have also been several example artifacts emailed out throughout the school year that cover almost every indicator.  Please ask your administrator for copies of example artifacts if you do not have them in your email. 

Teacher Question #15: My concern is that anyone can make a binder look amazing, even if their teaching isn't all that stellar. Something I've thought about, it'd be a lot more work for administrators but I also think it would be rather effective, is to still use the binder, BUT for formal observations, we could be evaluated formally 3-4 times a year. The first one, can be done and goals be set to work on that have been mutually agreed upon or the administrator saw or teacher felt they needed, and each observation after that the teacher demonstrates growth and is scored based on this. This gets the administrator in the room a lot more, great feedback, and the principal really knows what is going on. This would have more weight to it than the binder.

Response: This should not be a concern.  At least half of the rubric within the binder is based primarily on observation data from informal and formal observations.  Thus, it is not possible to make those sections of the binder “look” amazing.   Also, those sections of the binder (Domains 2 & 3) are worth more points than the other two domains.  More formal observations will not necessarily give the evaluator a better picture of what is going on in the room.  However, multiple informal observations will provide a much more accurate account of what is happening on a day to day basis in a classroom.  The entire intent of this new evaluation process is to prevent the one day “dog and pony” show from determining a teacher’s rating.

Teacher Question #16: I know this is a learning time for all but when talking to other teachers in the district at different schools, I feel we have varying ideas of what our administrators have told us is required as far as the evaluation.

Response: The administrators are working hard to norm themselves on the entire evaluation process.  This FAQ is one example that the administrators are working through to ensure unified answers and feedback as we move forward.

Teacher Question #17: I am not sure that the evaluation binder should hold a lot of points even though it takes a considerable amount of time to research and put it all together. Anyone can put about anything in their binder and not actually be doing it in class. I understand that we have to provide documentation but their needs to be discussion about how much of the eval is based on the binder.

Response: This should not be a concern.  At least half of the rubric within the binder is based primarily on observation data from informal and formal observations (Domains 2 & 3).  Thus, it is not possible to put anything in those sections of the binder to significantly increase the overall ratings.   Also, those sections of the binder (Domains 2 & 3) are worth more points than the other two domains.  Please see the Teacher Professional Practice Score Summary located here.  Multiple informal observations, a formal observation, and the evidence in the binder (Domains 1 & 4) will provide a much more accurate account of what is happening on a day to day basis in a classroom.  The entire intent of this new evaluation process is to prevent the one day “dog and pony” show from determining a teacher’s rating.

Teacher Question #18: After this year, would I start to gather materials for my next evaluation cycle?  I would then have two years of information in my binder.  Is that correct?

Response: It should be an ongoing improvement process.  Teachers should make a plan to improve their professional practice and as they do, they should document it in a binder to be used for their next evaluation cycle.

Teacher Question #19: I feel if we were to give students a rubric so complicated with as little instruction as we have had and tell students there will probably be no one scoring in the highest category then we would not be doing what is in best interest for our students.
So much time is given to preparing our binders with artifacts it is taking away from our prep time for our lessons.  I agree the evals need improving but how about a "user-friendly" version in the descriptors.

Response: The rubric is written in very clear observable language.  Please read through the language under each descriptor’s rating on the rubric located here.  Binders should not be prepared.  Artifacts should be placed in it as they are created, improved, critiqued and implemented within their classroom.  Working on improving a lesson or evaluating data from an assessment is working on your binder.  It should NOT be a separate activity to what you do daily. 

Teacher Question #20: The whole process is a bit overwhelming because I feel pretty lost. I'm not being evaluated this year, so I'm not meeting with anyone to know exactly what to do. I guess I will try to work with someone from a different department who is being evaluated this year and see if I can get some pointers.

Response: Teachers have been encouraged to share their binders and artifacts.  Some teachers, not being evaluated this year, have already started working on their binders for next year.  Teachers can schedule meetings with their administrators to discuss this evaluation process even if it is not their evaluation year.  In fact, several have done this already.

Teacher Question #21: Teachers who are better artifact collectors will score better than teachers who are better teachers in the classroom.

Response: This should not be a concern.  At least half of the binder is based primarily on observation data from informal and formal observations.  Thus, it is not possible to make those sections of the binder “look” amazing.   Also, those sections of the binder (Domains 2 & 3) are worth more points than the other two domains.  Please see the Teacher Professional Practice Score Summary located here for a more detailed description of the final rating scores from each domain’s indicator. 

Teacher Question #22: How many pieces of evidence do you need for each category to ensure an "Proficient" or "Excellent" rating?

Response: It’s about the quality of the artifact, not quantity.  Each descriptor has language under each rating (i.e. unsatisfactory, needs improvement, proficient, excellent).  Teachers simply need enough quality artifacts (i.e. artifacts that meet the criteria within the language) to meet all the requirements defined by this language. Please read through the language under the proficient rating level for each indicator to make sure all of it is covered by an artifact (Domains 1 & 4) or observed data (Domains 2 &3) located here

Teacher Question #23: What constitutes a piece of evidence that is rated as "Excellent"?

Response: Artifacts (Domains 1 & 4) or observed data (Domains 2 & 3) that meet the language outlined under the “proficient” and “excellent” rating of that component.



Student Growth 

Teacher Question #1: Just curious.....if we only need 3 data points why do we incorporate 5?

Response: Three data points are required because it takes at least three data points to create a trend. However, the former pre, mid, post process didn’t afford the teachers a midpoint check-in, which is required for the student growth goal process.  This former pre, mid, post didn’t fulfill that requirement because it didn’t fit within the evaluation timeline that concludes in March for the RIF groupings.  More importantly is the fact that more data points help teachers ensure their students are growing.  If the student data suggests a deficit in previously taught content, a quarterly data point affords teachers the ability to make adjustments and reteach that content in a timely manner.  The pre, mid, and post process doe not provide that same timely feedback especially for content that is taught during the first quarter of the school year because re-teaching first quarter content during the second semester is far less effective. Even though the final data point for purposes of evaluation will be in March at the end of 3rd quarter, there also needs to be a final assessment of student progress at the conclusion of the school year in May.  This data will be very helpful for the teacher as well to create an accurate assessment of what the students learned that year.  At the elementary level, this information should be passed on to the next grade level to help inform that teacher of the level that the student/students ended the school year as it will help those teachers create more appropriate student growth goals by comparing it to their pre-test data.  

Teacher Question #2: Will we have to submit all of our testing materials?  Will any time be given to make these according to new guidelines? 

Response: Yes, teacher created assessments are required to be reviewed.  More guidance will be released as the PERA committee continues to lay out the guidelines for the student growth process.  

Teacher Question #3: What will determine an adequate percent to grow? Are these individualized or expected across the board? What measures will be used? How will these be decided upon?

Response: The PERA committee is currently working to determine these aspects.  Your representative on that team can share about the progress. 

Teacher Question #4: Mainly software questions about how to effectively show, and even get data correctly entered in a way that allows you to develop a chart that is valuable.

Response: Any actual questions regarding software or charts should be directed to the building administrator.

Teacher Question #5: What exactly can be used to show growth?

Response: The PERA committee is developing an Assessment Inventory that will list available assessments.

Teacher Question #6: How will teachers set their goals for student growth?

Response: The PERA committee is working on this process and it will be released to you soon as it is completed. 

Teacher Question #7: What percentage of growth is required? Are IEP's taken into consideration?

Response: We always want to see 100% of our students show growth, but the amount of growth will be determined after baseline data is analyzed.  The amount can also be changed at the mid-point data review meeting if needed.  This will become more clear as the PERA committee releases information that is currently being developed. Students with IEPs will be expected to show growth as well and their goals will be based off of their academic grade level which should be identified within their IEPs.  Special education teachers will accommodate their goals based on the group of students.  

Teacher Question #8: How many different measurement tools do we need to show student growth?  Will L to J count as one of those tools? Do we have to use a standardized test of any kind to show student growth?

Response: Two different assessments for each teacher are required by law to measure student growth.  L to J could be one of the assessments depending on your grade or subject.  The PARCC or Stanford 10 will not be used at anytime to measure student growth as these tests do not meet the criteria of multiple data points. 

Teacher Question #9: Classes such as PE, Art, computer concepts, etc - what kind of assessments do we use?

Response: These classes will be responsible for creating a comprehensive assessment that will be given at least 5 times for year long classes or 3 times for semester courses.  The other assessment could be L to J or rubric based projects such as art portfolios. 

Teacher Question #10: How do you come up with open-ended questions for the assessments in elective classes?

Response: Bloom’s Taxonomy can be used to guide your assessment development.  There are also several resources on the ISBE website and elsewhere on the Internet. 

Teacher Question #11: How can teacher given assessments to show student growth be considered fair where there really is no accountability on the tests being given?

Response: There already is accountability for the teacher created tests.  The PERA committee is working on guidelines for the Student Growth Goal Process.  Student growth targets will be based off of baseline data, and the assessments themselves must meet certain criteria. 

Teacher Question #12: How does the same test given 3-5 times actually show student growth especially when teachers go over the answers with their students after given the test each time?

Response: Most concepts will not be covered when students initially take the test.  As the concepts are being taught throughout the year, students should master them, thus showing growth. If the test is developed with good questions at appropriate cognitive levels, there shouldn’t be much opportunity for the students to just memorize the answers.  Different versions of the assessment items should also be implemented for these assessments.  

Teacher Question #13: Will teachers have input in creating the components that will be used to determine student growth?

Response: The union has equal representation on the PERA Committee that is developing the entire student growth model.  Teachers are encouraged to talk with their PERA Committee members about this process.   

Teacher Question #14: Student growth will be an asset to teachers and should be a better tool than rubric.

Response: This statement is unclear.  Rubric based assessment is often best practice especially when one is assessing more abstract knowledge such as writing skills or teaching skills.  Showing growth is possible in any classroom regardless of what the teacher does. (Referenced by John Hattie’s researchlocated here) The amount of student growth needed to achieve a higher rating could be difficult for some that do not meet the proficient criteria on the professional practice. 

Teacher Question #15: If I get evaluated this year without the student growth and next year other’s in my department are evaluated with the student growth.  Won’t their score be much higher?  Therefore, if any RIF would put me at the bottom?

Response: Their score won’t be any higher, the final is one of four ratings and that is the same both years.  This year, it will be determined without student growth, and next year it will be calculated in.  However the final result will be the same. 

Teacher Question #16: Will new/transfer students count towards our student growth?

Response: If a student is enrolled in your class after the pre-assessment window (to be defined by the PERA Committee), they will not count for your student growth.  However, they should be assessed and monitored like every other student for the student’s benefit.  There will also be other criteria labeled as “Seat Time” that students will have to meet in order for them to count toward student growth.

Teacher Question #17: How will we show student growth using the L to J format (Do we set a goal of total number correct by a certain date, or reach an overall percentage by a certain date, etc.)?

Response: You would identify how many students you wish to be scoring at a certain number at a given point in time.  For example, if the weekly tests have 10 questions, then you would hope that half way through the year all of your students are scoring at least 5 out of 10 correctly.   It is important that the questions are based off of the curriculum being taught and questions are selected at random. 

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