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Newest Proposed Educator Evaluation Rules


On May 1st teachers all over the state were able to take a deep breath. If done correctly, for example, a social studies teacher doesn’t have to worry about a large percentage of his evaluation being based on a student’s standardized test score in English, a subject he doesn’t even teach. The way teachers are evaluated in Maine will now be helpful, fair and reflective thanks to a new set of rules surrounding evaluations made possible by the hard work of the Maine Education Association and its members.

Lawmakers approved a new set of teacher evaluation rules by overriding a Governor LePage veto. Politics aside, the new rules will help all teachers and requires teachers to have a voice in the evaluation process. The changes in rules are significant and were not easy to achieve. MEA worked extremely hard to make sure teachers have a strong voice in the development of evaluation systems locally so they are fair, help educators improve their craft and are aligned with improving student outcomes. This was a difficult process and could not have been possible without the strength of our membership. It takes a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate to override a veto—no small task. In the end, many lawmakers said it was the emails MEA members sent to stress the importance of the issue that turned the tide. After much debate a new set of evaluation rules which all school districts must follow are now law.

How the New Rules Affect Teachers

  • Calls for the creation of an initial group of stakeholders in each school district comprised of a majority of teachers to develop the district’s performance evaluation and professional growth system (PE/PG)
  • The focus of the PE/PG system is on reflective practice and professional development to improve teaching practice
  • The PE/PG system, which must be aligned with InTASC standards, includes:
    • professional practice standards
    • descriptors and rubrics
    • student learning and growth measures
    • the method of combining measures into a summative effectiveness rating
    • other documents describing implementation of the PE/PG system
  • Multiple measures of student learning and growth must be used for each educator being evaluated, standardized tests may not be the sole type of measurement and student learning objectives (SLOs) and IEP goals may be used

Evaluation Measurement

  • Collective (i.e. school, districtwide) growth measures may be used if agreed to by the affected teachers but can’t constitute more than ¼ of the student growth measure
  • A teacher can only have a student’s learning and growth attributed to him/her, if the student is:
    • enrolled in a course taught by the teacher
    • the student was present and was subject to instruction by the teacher for at least 80% of the scheduled instruction time for the course
    • the student took both a pre-test and post-test designed to measure achievement in the course
  • Evaluators must be trained in the specific model selected in the district, including:
    • conducting pre-observation and post-observation conferences
    • observing and evaluating the professional practice of teachers based on evidence and without bias
    • developing and guiding professional growth plans
    • having a high level of inter-rater reliability and agreement and maintaining an identified minimum level of inter-rater reliability and agreement as defined in the PE/PG system
  • Educators will be rated and placed in categories as highly effective, effective, partially effective or ineffective based on the evaluation. Two consecutive years of summative effectiveness ratings of ineffective constitutes just cause for nonrenewal unless the ratings are the result of bad faith

Steering Committee

  • An ongoing steering committee must be formed prior to piloting the PE/PG system to regularly review and refine the PE/PG system to ensure that it is aligned with school district’s goals and priorities. The committee will consist of:
    • teachers appointed by the local Association
    • administrators
    • other school staff

Timing

  • School districts must pilot the PE/PG system and have it approved by the Department of Education before implementation in the 2015-16 school year
  • If the initial group of stakeholders does not reach consensus by June 1, 2015, the district must adopt one of the State’s model PE/PG systems, which will include a 20% weight for student learning and growth measures. If the district agrees on all components of a new model except student learning and growth, it can use that model and student learning and growth defaults to 20%.

The Importance of the Initial Group of Stakeholders
(Previously called the Implementation Committee by MEA prior to the new rules)

One of the biggest changes the MEA worked to include in the new rules is the requirement that teachers have a voice in the development of the evaluation process. Research shows evaluation systems work best and are most effective when teachers are heavily involved beginning with the development of the evaluation system. These new rules give teachers that input. The Initial Group of Stakeholders must use a consensus decision-making process, where all parties agree, to reach agreement on the PE/PG system, including the proportionate weight of student learning and growth measures. The rules require teachers to vote on the composition of the district’s initial group of stakeholders. For districts who don’t currently have a group formed to develop a process, the following format must be used to appoint a majority of teachers to the group:

Teacher Representation on Initial Group of Stakeholders

If the school district has established an initial group of stakeholders to develop a PE/PG system prior to the effective date of this rule chapter (May 1, 2014) that doesn’t meet the composition above, it can continue as currently constituted if a majority of teachers in the district vote to continue with the current format. If the majority votes against the current formation, it must be reconstituted following the process above.

You Know the Rules, Now What

You Know the Rules, Now What


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