Teacher Evaluation

Welcome to AFT MA’s teacher evaluation web page. As part of Massachusetts’ Race to the Top plan, the state has revised regulations pertaining to the evaluation of teachers and administrators. This page is designed to provide union leaders, teachers, and other affected educators with the latest information and resources regarding educator evaluation in Massachusetts. Please check back regularly for updates.

Essential Resources

Key Events Leading to Passage of New Educator Evaluation Regulations

The timeline below chronicles the events leading up to the passage of final regulations on June 28, 2011.

 May 25, 2010:  The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (the Board) passed a motion (pdf) to establish a state Task Force on Evaluation of Teachers and Administrators. The charge of the Task Force was to review existing regulations and make recommendations to the Board in Winter 2011.

August 2010 to March 2011:  The Task Force deliberated over many meetings. AFT MA had a seat on the Task Force and advocated for a system that satisfies our three core principles: good for students, fair to educators, and collaboratively done. Read a Q&A from the March 2011 Advocate for more information on AFT MA’s position on teacher evaluation. 

March 2011: The Task Force released its report, Building a Breakthrough Framework for Educator Evaluation in the Commonwealth (pdf), to the Board. The Board discussed the report at its March 22 meeting.

April 16, 2011:  State Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Mitchell Chester submitted draft regulations (version 1) to the Board.

April 22, 2011:  AFT MA President Tom Gosnell sent a memo to Commissioner Chester with questions and concerns about the proposed draft regulations (version 1).

April 26, 2011: Commissioner Chester issued revised draft regulations (version 2; with changes marked) to the Board in advance of the April 27 Board meeting.

April 27, 2011:  The Board voted to send the revised draft regulations (version 2 above) out for public comment.

April 28, 2011:  Public comment period began, closing on June 10, 2011.

June 10, 2011: AFT MA submitted comments and edits on the proposed regulations to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

June 10-27, 2011:  The proposed regulations were revised in response to public comments.

June 28, 2011:  The Board met to vote on final regulations.  AFT MA President Tom Gosnell submitted testimony to the Board. Final regulations were passed by the Board in a 9-2 vote.

General Resources on Teacher Evaluation

AFT-commissioned brief by Susan Moore Johnson:
Why Teachers Must Have an Effective Evaluation System (pdf)

Article in the AFT’s American Educator magazine–Summer 2010 (pdf):
Continuous Improvement: Making Evaluation a Tool for Increasing Teacher—and Student—Learning

AFT white paper on teacher evaluations:
A Continuous Improvement Model for Teacher Development and Evaluation (pdf)

CommonWealth Magazine article by Edward Moscovitch (Summer 2010):
Teachers Are Not To Blame: Tools that Help Teachers, Not Firings, Are the Key to Education Success

Tying Teacher Evaluations to Student Test Scores: Research and Critiques

National Research Council/Board on Testing and Assessment:
Letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan (pdf) on the Race to the Top program and the use of student test scores in teacher evaluations (see pp. 8-10)

Research brief by the Economic Policy Institute:
Problems with the Use of Test Scores To Evaluate Teachers (pdf)

Open Letter from Long Island, NY, Principals:
Concerns Regarding New York State’s APPR Legislation for the Evaluation of Teachers and Principals (pdf)

Annenberg Institute study:
Can Teachers Be Evaluated By Their Students’ Test Scores? Should They Be?

UC-Berkeley economist Jesse Rothstein:
Review of Learning About Teaching (critical analysis of Gates Foundation report on “value-added”)

Essay by Diane Ravitch:
The Problem With Value-Added Assessment

Rethinking Schools article (Winter 2010):
Neither Fair Nor Accurate: Research-Based Reasons Why High-Stakes Tests Should Not Be Used to Evaluate Teachers

American Educator magazine (Fall 2008)
Teacher, Mentor, Tutor, Specialist: Is Any One Educator Responsible for Student Learning? (pdf)

Peer Assistance and Review

Harvard Graduate School of Education:
A User’s Guide to Peer Assistance and Review

Center for American Progress:
Realizing the Potential of Peer Assistance and Review (a primer on PAR by Susan Moore Johnson and colleagues)

American Educator magazine–Fall 2008:
In Our Hands: Teachers Should Guide and Guard the Teaching Profession (an in-depth look at peer review)

Toledo Federation of Teachers:
The Toledo Plan (a detailed description of the nation’s first PAR program)

AFT peer assistance and review resource page: