Texas Teacher Evaluation System

Instructor: Eric Campos

Eric has tutored in English, writing, history, and other subjects.

Just as they endeavor to help students learn and develop, teachers are constantly trying to improve and diversify their instructional methods. Below you'll learn about the teacher evaluation system designed to help Texas educators through this process.

Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS)

T-TESS is the latest state-recommended teacher evaluation system that strives to support educators and assist in their professional development. Drawing on the performance objectives outlined in the official Texas Teacher Standards, the T-TESS evaluation process focuses on improving both teaching quality and student performance.

Certified appraisers sit in on classes and record their observations in order to provide the feedback needed to help teachers improve their teaching methodologies. This feedback incorporates evidence-based input obtained by student test results, formal observations, a review of lesson plans, teacher conversations, conferences, and more. This information is measurable, meaning that appraisers draw from concrete evidence that clearly outlines the results of teachers' approaches. Strategies are then put forth to improve and modify teaching practices based on these observations.

T-TESS Rubric

Educational appraisers evaluate instructors on four core domains of teaching excellence: Planning, Instruction, Learning Environment, and Professional Practices and Responsibilities. The domains are then expanded into sixteen dimensions that highlight relevant competencies contributing to classroom excellence. Below is the layout for the domains and corresponding dimensions.

Planning Data and Assessment; Knowledge of Students; Activities; Standards and Alignment
Learning Environment Classroom Environment, Routines, and Procedures; Managing Student Behavior; Classroom Culture
Instruction Achieving Expectations; Content Knowledge and Expertise; Communication; Differentiation; Monitor and Adjust
Professional Practices and Responsibilities Professional Demeanor and Ethics; Goal Setting; Professional Development; School Community Involvement

While each dimension adds scope to the domain it's directly associated with, it's important to remember that all of these qualities complement each other. This is meant to be a holistic review of teachers' practices, accounting not just for their abilities as an instructor, but also the atmosphere they create in class. All of these factors can impact students.

Performance Levels

Appraisers rate teachers' performance in each dimension according to five levels: Improvement Needed, Developing, Proficient, Accomplished, and Distinguished. Naturally, this steers professional development by illustrating which domains a teacher is strong in and which can use some additional attention.

It also reflects how refined instructional methods can have a greater impact on student development. Each of the rubric's performance levels outlines descriptors of teaching practices that become increasingly student centered as they move from the Improvement Needed to Distinguished level. For example, a teacher who received the Improvement Needed mark in the Data and Assessment dimension might be using few assessments and providing little feedback to students, whereas a teacher who received a Distinguished mark uses a variety of formal and informal assessments to help students become aware of their strengths and engage them in the learning process.

Study.com for Educators

In addition to the T-TESS website, Study.com has specific resources available for Texas Educators. Here you'll find curriculum planning resources and tips on how to prepare your lessons in line with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills standards. Our more general Resources for Teachers course contains structured lessons on a variety of topics, including behavior management and project rubric design. No matter what lessons you decide to delve into, all of Study.com's content is accessible on your mobile devices.

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