Teacher and Principal Evaluation and Support Systems

The Work

Teacher and Principal Evaluation and Support Systems

Why create a new evaluation system?

Research demonstrates that a student’s teacher is the most important in-school factor in improving student learning (McCaffrey, Lockwood, Koretz, & Hamilton, 2003; Rivkin, Hanushek, & Kain, 2005). To support this finding, the Texas Education Agency has committed, as articulated in its approved ESEA waiver to the U.S. Department of Education, to improving educator supports imbedded within the teacher evaluation system. Moreover, feedback from Texas teachers and principals indicates that the state's current teacher evaluation system (known as the Professional Development and Appraisal System, or PDAS) does not provide for a supportive, continuous focus on instructional growth. As a result, the agency has identified a need for a new system that will provide more robust and objective feedback to teachers and administrators and direct access to professional learning.

What will make this system different?

  • TEA developed new teacher and principal evaluation systems that encourage more frequent, timely, formative feedback and that incorporate multiple indicators of success, including measures of student learning.
  • The new evaluation systems will (1) foster open and collaborative campus cultures that focus on instructional growth, supportive and contextual feedback, and the development of individual and schoolwide practices that more effectively improve student learning, and (2) include multiple measures of teacher effectiveness including in- and out-of-classroom indicators, student learning growth, and teacher self-reflection

Who are TEA’s partners?

  • Statewide steering committees provided input and recommendations to TEA. The committees were comprised of classroom educators, principals, university professors, and valued stakeholders.
  • Texas Comprehensive Center (TXCC) provided logistical and information services for steering committees and TEA staff.
  • Education Service Center (ESC) 13 provided input and support on communications with ESCs and school districts, and createed training supports and professional development repositories linked to the new teacher evaluation system.
  • Pilot districts were school districts from across the state that piloted the new system in the 2014–2015 and 2015–2016 school years.
overview of the system



McCaffrey, J. R., Lockwood, D. F., Koretz, D. M., & Hamilton, L. S. (2003). Evaluating value added models for teacher accountability [Monograph]. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation. Retrieved from http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2004/RAND_MG158.pdf

Texas Education Agency. (2013). ESEA flexibility request. (Sept. 18, 2013). Retrieved from http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=25769803880

Texas Education Agency. (2014). ESEA flexibility request: Principle 3, supporting effective instruction and leadership. (May 2, 2014). Retrieved from http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=25769803880

Rivkin, S. G., Hanushek, E. A., & Kain, J. F. (2005). Teachers, schools, and academic achievement. Econometrics, 73, 417—458.


Texas Teacher Evaluation and
Support System (T-TESS)

As part of a vision to expand support and assistance to educator evaluation and professional development, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) revised its teacher evaluation system over a period of nine months beginning in spring 2013.The new system, the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T–TESS), includes multiple measures that support teacher instruction and student performance and will replace the current system – the Professional Development and Appraisal System (PDAS).

TXCC convened a steering committee comprised of teachers, principals, and representatives from higher education and educator organizations to complete this work. The committee identified areas of instruction and student performance aligned to research and best practices that would improve teaching and learning and influence student performance. The committee then proposed a matrix approach for Texas’ teacher evaluation model that incorporates teacher observations, self-reflection and goal setting, and measures of student growth.

In collaboration with the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET), ESC 13, and the TXCC, TEA piloted the new system during the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years. During the pilot period, all 20 ESCs will provided technical assistance to nearly 260 pilot districts. TEA collected quantitative and qualitative feedback from NIET and from the ESCs; these data were used to inform improvements to the system in preparation for going to scale in 2016-2017.

Principal Evaluation and Support System (T-PESS)

In early 2014, TEA asked the TXCC to convene a steering committee of principals, administrators, and higher education faculty to provide input into the creation of an evaluative rubric correlated with the principal standards and incorporating weighted components, including student learning outcomes. The committee met in February, March, and April 2014 and finalized the rubric and summative guide that was piloted in T-PESS districts during the 2014–2015 school year. The TXCC is supporting this project in collaboration with ESC 13, which will serve as the state hub for the Texas Evaluation and Support System (TESS), and with TEA's external contractor, McREL, who is developing and piloting the instruments and providing professional development to staff of participating districts and to ESC contacts.


Contact Us

Linda Johnson
Educator Leadership and Quality
Texas Education Agency
1701 N. Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 463-2395