DESE Updates Educator and Administrator Model Rubrics for Evaluation

On August 10, 2018, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (“DESE”) released updated model rubrics for classroom teachers and school administrators. Following the release of the model system in 2012, DESE began collecting feedback from teachers and school leaders in 2016 to refine the model rubrics.

While there are no substantive changes to the rubrics, teachers and administrators will observe the following:

  1. Streamlined content: DESE consolidated certain elements where the content was redundant or substantially similar. For example, under the Curriculum and Planning Indicator, the previous elements of “Rigorous Standards-Based Unit Design” and “Well-Structured Lessons” have been combined into one element titled “Well-Structured Units and Lessons” that includes terminology from the previous two elements.
  2. Clarified descriptors: DESE simplified the performance descriptor language to make it “easier to develop a shared understanding of performance expectations and provide meaningful, actionable feedback to educators about their practice.”
  3. Stronger alignment to teaching and leading: DESE updated descriptions to better “align the model rubrics and strengthen connections to critical instructional practices in Massachusetts (e.g. standards-based instruction, social-emotional learning, and culturally responsive teaching and leading).”

Districts are not required to use the new model rubrics for teachers and school-level administrators. If a District decides against using the new model rubrics, it must use a “comparable rigorous and comprehensive rubric.” 603 CMR 35.08. Rubrics must include the four Standards, related Indicators, and specific descriptions of practice across the four performance levels: Exemplary, Proficient, Needs Improvement, and Unsatisfactory.

DESE anticipates that updates to the model rubrics for Superintendents will be released in the summer of 2019. We will monitor DESE’s updates for any further revisions.

If you have any questions about the new model rubrics, or school law generally, please contact any of our attorneys.

This update is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice.