On December 10, 2015, the Governor’s Common Core Commission issued 21 recommendations about the Common Core and related issues. The 21st recommendation targeted the use of Common Core-based assessments for teacher evaluation and suggested a four-year moratorium on the use of Common Core assessments and Common Core-derived growth scores for evaluation. On December 14th, just a few days later, the State Education Department suggested several emergency regulatory changes to the Board of Regents in order to implement the Commission’s 21st recommendation. These regulatory changes label the interregnum between now and the 2019-2020 school year as a “transition period.” These sudden changes threw both §3012-c and §3012-d districts into the uncomfortable position of having parts of SED-approved APPR plans that were now in conflict with regulations. Now, as of January 15th, some of the questions have been answered with SED-provided guidance in the form of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
Given that we were nearly half-way through the school year, districts’ most immediate concerns were about the present school year. Now we know: “…evaluations conducted… during the 2015-2016 school year… will be determined using the scores/rating in the remaining subcomponents… that are not based on 3-8 ELA or math assessments…” The same holds true for any state-provided growth scores from Regents examinations, which includes most high school principals. School-wide measures applied to teachers that are based on 3-8 ELA and math are included in this decision. So, too, are school-wide measures disallowed if they are directly tied to a state-provided growth measure provided for a principal (including state-provided growth scores using Regents exams).
Since §3012-c still requires the calculation of a summary score out of 100, the remaining subcomponents will be scaled up to 100 for the impacted personnel. For §3012-d district personnel impacted by this decision, just the classroom observation label will be used (unless supplemental measures, not based on 3-8 assessments, are a part of their approved plan which would still be used).
For the remainder of the transition period, through school year 2018-2019, districts will have to use SLOs that are not based on 3-8 ELA and math assessments for everyone. Districts which have approved §3012-d plans will have to make changes for the remainder of the transition period through a supplemental submission.
Districts that are developing §3012-d plans while operating under a waiver will have to make sure their new plans reflect this prior to going into the Review Room for approval. For districts with a hardship waiver, that hardship waiver is now automatically extended. A §3012-d plan will have to be submitted to SED no later than July 1, 2016 for approval and implementation by September 1, 2016. The assessments that are used for SLOs will have to be approved by SED, including vendor and locally-produced assessments (that list can be found here). The state will continue to provide growth scores. These scores will be advisory for teachers and principals but may be used for school/district accountability purposes.
Districts with approved §3012-d plans will not be required to re-open their complete APPR plan for review. Rather, they will submit a supplemental form that outlines what will be done during the remainder of the transition period. When §3012-c districts submit a §3012-d plan for approval, they will describe what will be used during the transition period for impacted personnel.
The immediate relief that has been provided to all districts means that no back-up SLOs have to be created/recreated during the middle of the school year. During the next few years, districts will have plans for impacted personnel. During this transition period, districts will have to provide original ratings and transition ratings to the state as well as to requesting parents.
Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Support Services