RI Model FAQs

1. Is a self- assessment a requirement?
Completing a self-assessment is an optional aspect of the Rhode Island Model, but a school or district may choose to make it a requirement. Completing a self-assessment is recommended for teachers who are new to the Rhode Island Model, and a self-assessment tool can be found in EPSS.

2. Will I receive a rating on my Professional Growth Plan?
No, Professional Growth Plans are a required and an important part of the Rhode Island Model because they guide the support and development process. It is not a scored criterion of the Rhode Island Model.

3. Does my Professional Growth Plan need to be aligned to Student Learning Objectives?
No, the Professional Growth Plan is designed to meet the individual needs of teachers and is a key aspect of the support and development process. While Professional Practice, Professional Foundations, and Student Learning Objectives are distinct aspects of the system, information from any of these can be used to help develop a Professional Growth Plan.

4. Can we continue to use goals for more than one year for ongoing work (e.g., aligning curriculum)?
Yes, but multi-year goals should have activities and benchmarks associated with each year’s plan.

5. Is there a minimum requirement for the number of action steps required for each Professional Growth Goal?
Yes, the Professional Growth Plan in the EPSS requires at least one action step, with at least one benchmark (with date) for growth goal number one. If you set a second goal (only one is required), the EPSS will not force an action step or benchmark.

6. Does the Beginning-of-Year Conference have to be a one-on-one meeting?
The minimum requirement is that every educator has three evaluation conferences with their evaluator (Beginning, Middle, and End-of-Year). While group conferences may technically meet this requirement, it does not meet the spirit and intent of the conferences. The evaluation conferences are intended to provide the educator and their evaluator with a reliable process for open and honest dialogue about performance. One option may be to discuss specific Beginning-of-Year Conference topics (e.g., Student Learning Objectives, Professional Growth Plans) in small or large groups, but still provide every educator with the opportunity to have a one-on-one meeting with their evaluator to discuss any individual topics.

1. What should I do differently when I am observed?
Nothing, you should teach as you do on every other day of the year. For announced observations, some evaluators may ask for a lesson plan beforehand, and some teachers like to share what they will be teaching in advance, but you are not expected to do anything out of the ordinary. Observations are just one of multiple ways to collect data, along with the sources of evidence and measures of student learning submitted in other parts of this evaluation. The goal with each is to provide as complete a picture of your effectiveness as possible.

2. Should teachers collect additional evidence to support their Professional Practice rating?
No, the eight components on the Teacher Professional Practice Rubric are 100% observable, and each component is rated after each observation. No additional evidence is needed to determine a rating on the Teacher Professional Practice Rubric.

3. Why are the components on the Teacher Professional Practice rubric labeled 2a through 3d?
We adapted Charlotte Danielson’s 2011 Framework for Teaching to assess professional practice. The Rhode Island Model Teacher Professional Practice rubric adopted the same component numbering system used within the Framework for Teaching.

4. If I am observed more than three times, will the additional classroom observations be factored into my overall Professional Practice Rating?
Yes, the EPSS will average up to six classroom observation scores.

1. Why is Professional Foundations part of the evaluation system?
It is included in the evaluation system because we believe teacher growth and student success depend on the collective efforts in these areas.

2. Why were some components on the Teacher Professional Foundations rubric modified from Edition I (2011-12 version)?
We received feedback from educators that some areas may have unintentionally established unfair expectations. There was also some redundancy with professional practice areas. We feel the adjustments within Edition II both clarify expectations and incorporate feedback from the field.

3. Will I be penalized for not staying late at school?
No, teachers can meet expectations for all components on the Teacher Professional Foundations rubric without staying late.

4. How can one artifact be used as evidence for multiple components on the Teacher Professional Foundations Rubric?
While each component on the Professional Foundations rubric is distinct, they are also closely aligned. For example, a written communication from a teacher to a parent could be used as evidence for both “PF2: Solicits, maintains records of, and communicates appropriate information about students’ behavior, learning needs, and academic progress”, and “PF3: Actions on the belief that all students can learn and advocates for students’ best interests”.

5. When/how will I receive feedback on Teacher Professional Foundations?
The Mid-Year and End-of-Year Conferences provide formal opportunities to receive feedback and discuss the evidence and performance related to Teacher Professional Foundations, but evaluators can provide ongoing feedback as well. The components of the Teacher Professional Foundations rubric are scored holistically at the end of the year.

1. What should I do differently during a school visit?
Nothing, you should act as you do on every other day of the year. For announced school visits, some evaluators may ask to observe something specific or review certain documents, but you are not expected to do anything out of the ordinary. School visits are just one of multiple ways to collect data, along with the sources of evidence and measures of student learning submitted in other parts of this evaluation. The goal with each is to provide as complete a picture of your effectiveness as possible.

2. Why is Professional Foundations part of the evaluation system?
It is included in the evaluation system because we believe building administrator growth and student success depend on the collective efforts in these areas.

3. Why were some rubric components modified from Edition I (2011-2012 version)?
We received feedback from educators that some areas may have unintentionally established unfair expectations. There was also some redundancy within the Building Administrator Professional Practice rubric. We feel the adjustments within Edition II both clarify expectations and incorporate feedback from the field.

4. When/how will I receive feedback on Professional Foundations?
The Mid-Year and End-of-Year Conferences provide formal opportunities to receive feedback and discuss the evidence and performance related to Professional Foundations, but evaluators can provide ongoing feedback as well. The components of the Building Administrator Professional Foundations rubric are scored holistically at the end of the year.

1. How do I know what content to focus on?
First, if possible, collaborate with other teachers who teach the same grade/subject/course, so that you are not going through the process in isolation. To determine the priority content for a Student Learning Objective, begin with the curriculum materials that are currently being used in the course to determine what should be taught and what students need to know and be able to do by the end of the grade or course. Refer to grade level content standards, curriculum maps, and units of study, and consider which standards are particularly critical for the grade level or course. You may also find that historical data is useful to determine what content students have needed more support on in past years. If a particular area appears to be a troublesome, it may warrant additional focus in the form of a Student Learning Objective. In addition, Student Learning Objectives may also be informed by district and school priorities and/or building administrator Student Learning Objectives.

2. Can I write absenteeism clauses into my Objective Statement such as, “For those students who are present 80% of the time?”
No, because a Student Learning Objective must include all students on the roster for the course or subject area with which the objective is aligned, and attendance clauses potentially exclude students.

3. How many standards should I include in my Student Learning Objective?
There is no correct number of standards for any teacher to include in their Student Learning Objective. The selection of standards should be strategic and include those that directly apply to the Objective Statement and corresponding Evidence Source. Refer to page 33 in the Rhode Island Model Teacher Evaluation & Support System guidebook for more information on the priority of content.

4. Do I need to include all students for whom I am responsible for in my set of Student Learning Objectives?
Not necessarily. While we aspire for all students for whom a teacher is responsible for to be included in their set of Student Learning Objectives, it is not a requirement for the 2012-13 school year. However, no student enrolled in a grade or course should be excluded from a Student Learning Objective for that grade or course.

5. I teach in a district with high mobility, so my roster often looks different by January than it does in September. How do I set Student Learning Objectives for students that I haven’t even met?
You should set your Student Learning Objectives based upon the students who are on your roster at the beginning of the school year. At mid-year, you and your evaluator should sit down and compare your current roster to the roster upon which the targets were set. If there are substantial differences between your current roster and the roster upon which the targets were set, the targets may need to be adjusted. Students who are added or removed from the roster after mid-year should not contribute to the results of the Student Learning Objective. However, teachers should continue to monitor the progress of any newly added students throughout the remainder of the year.

6. What should I use as baseline data? Do I need to conduct a pre- and post-test for each SLO?
Data that provides an indication of students’ skill or knowledge level at the beginning of the course can be used as baseline data to inform the setting of targets. This could include a teacher-created or commercial assessment and focused on either the current or previous grade’s standards and content.

Baseline data can be used in two primary ways for Student Learning Objectives. The first use is for creating groups of students based upon the baseline results. Separate mastery targets for each group are then set. For this purpose the format of the assessment does not need to match the format of the assessment being used as evidence in the Student Learning Objective. For example, the summative assessment used as evidence may include a performance task, whereas a paper-based test was used to collect a baseline measure of similar skills and content. The second use of baseline data is consistent with the notion of a pre-test/post-test model. In this case baseline data from a pre-test is used to determine the starting point (baseline) for students. The results are then used for comparison purposes when progress is being measured for the Student Learning Objective. In this scenario summative data is compared to the baseline data and the same format of assessment must be used.

In all scenarios baseline data is a must, however, a pre-test/post-test model is not required and, in some cases, would be inappropriate. Again, the function of the baseline assessment is to provide information about where students are starting so that appropriate targets can be set.

7. Do I have to set tiered targets?
No, tiered targets do not need to be set if all students are entering the course with the same level of foundational knowledge and skills, and they are all expected to reach a certain benchmark by the end of the interval of instruction. For example, tiered targets may not apply for teachers of an introductory class or elective in which students rarely enter with foundational knowledge and for which the objective is for all students to acquire a basic set of skills or reach a basic level of proficiency. However, for the majority of classes and courses, students will enter at different levels and tiered targets will be needed in order to ensure that they are appropriately rigorous and attainable for all students.

8. Do the targets in my Student Learning Objective need to include all students in the class?
Yes, a Student Learning Objective must include all students enrolled in that class.

9. Do I have to set mastery or progress-based objectives and targets?
The Student Learning Objective form in EPSS no longer requires educators to specify whether or not they are setting mastery or progress-based objectives and targets, although it is helpful to think about the type when setting the objective and targets. A Student Learning Objective can be written to measure students’ mastery of standards, students’ progress toward standards, or both. They are simply two different ways to think about and measure student learning. Depending on the content, baseline data, and evidence source(s), one type of objective and corresponding targets may be more or less appropriate than the other. For example, if the objective is for students to acquire a set of skills or meet a certain minimum level of proficiency, a mastery objective is the most appropriate. However, if the objective is for students to make a certain amount of progress on a continuum, such as reading level, a progress objective is the most appropriate. In some cases, it might make sense to set a mastery target for some students (75% of students will meet proficiency) and a progress target for others (25% of students will improve their performance by two or more levels on the rubric from the baseline to the final assessment).

10. Why does the Student Learning Objective form ask me to check whether my Evidence Source is High, Medium, or Low standardization?
The standardization of evidence is used in determining the documentation needed to score Student Learning Objectives. Student Learning Objectives that make use of highly standardized assessments require fewer sources of documentation than those that rely upon less standardized assessments.

High standardization indicates that the assessment is administered and scored in a standardized and objective manner, like an AP exam. Medium standardization means that the assessment has some elements of standardization but may also have an element of subjectivity in the scoring. An example of this might be the DRA or District Common Assessments. Low standardization means that the assessment is created independently by a teacher or a teacher-team.

It is important to understand that a highly standardized assessment does not necessarily indicate a high-quality assessment. Standardized assessments vary in their quality and might not be the right fit for your objective statement. The quality of an assessment depends on many criteria, including its purpose, intended vs. actual use, and grade level appropriateness. There are many instances in which a standardized assessment tests a broad array of information that does not showcase student learning as it directly pertains to your objective statement. Also, many teachers have high-quality assessments they have crafted themselves. However, to promote rigor and objectivity, RIDE encourages teachers to collaborate, co-develop and share assessments, and to norm and score together. If an evaluator sees that you have included a highly standardized assessment in your Student Learning Objective he or she might check-in with you to ensure it will give you all the information you need. Similarly, if you include an assessment of low standardization an evaluator might ask for you to provide more documentation and include the rubric to better understand the evidence source.

11. Can Student Learning Objective be revised mid-year?
At the Mid-Year Conference, the educator and their evaluator will review available student learning data and reexamine the Student Learning Objective to determine if adjustments should be made. Adjustments may be made if:

  • Based on new information gathered since they were set, objectives fail to address the most important learning challenges in the classroom or school.
  • New, more reliable sources of evidence are available.
  • Class compositions have changed significantly.
  • Teaching schedule or assignment has changed significantly.

12. Is there guidance around whether or not to include student data at the end of the year for students who are not present for the full year?
There is no minimum number of days that a student must be present in order for their data to be included. However, students added to an educator’s roster after the mid-year or who are no longer on an educator’s roster at the end of the interval of instruction (e.g., quarter, semester, year) should not be included in the final compilation of results for a Student Learning Objective.

For students with chronic absenteeism who are not progressing as expected, educators should include applicable student attendance data (e.g., five students were chronically absent for more than 50% of class time) as part of the evidence for a Student Learning Objective. The process for scoring individual Student Learning Objectives begins with a review of the evidence, and the evaluator should consider relevant student attendance data when scoring an individual Student Learning Objective as Exceeded, Met, Nearly Met, or Not Met. Additionally, the Mid-Year Conference represents an opportunity to revise the supports and interventions in place to help student(s) who are not progressing as expected, and accelerate their progress.

13. How do I choose which classes to write Student Learning Objectives for if I teach multiple courses?
Some teachers, especially at the secondary level, teach multiple courses. The teacher and the evaluator should make decisions together about which area(s) of their teaching assignment to focus their Student Learning Objectives. Generally, teachers should focus Student Learning Objectives on courses in which they teach the most students in their teaching assignment, and courses in which there are areas of need.

14. If I teach a course that does not last a full year do I still set Student Learning Objectives?
Yes, all teachers need to set at least two Student Learning Objectives, but the timeline should be condensed to match the duration of the course. Teachers can either set an Student Learning Objective that applies across groups of students and aggregate results to measure attainment (e.g., a year-long Student Learning Objective that combines fall and spring semester students for the full year), or set Student Learning Objectives that apply to a single semester or a shorter interval of instruction (e.g., quarters).

15. Can I write two Student Learning Objectives for fall semester and not have any for the spring?
No, a set of Student Learning Objectives cannot be set for just one half of the school year and not the other. The intent is for SLOs to document the impact that teachers are making on student learning throughout the year and not just part of the year.

16. If I teach a semester-long class twice in the year (fall, spring), can I repeat the same Student Learning Objective in two different semesters and just change the targets?
No, for a teacher who teaches the same course multiple times in the year they should tier the targets for separate semesters and include differing baseline data, if applicable. If the teacher does not yet know what the second semester students’ baselines will be, they should write the most appropriate targets for those students by referring to historical data from similar groups of students. The teacher should write at least one other Student Learning Objective with a different content focus.

17. How do Student Learning Objectives connect to the Common Core?
Student Learning Objectives should be aligned to state and national standards, including the Rhode Island GSEs/GLEs and the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English language arts and mathematics. Rhode Island schools and districts are in the process of transitioning to the CCSS in English language arts and mathematics, in preparation for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment. If a teacher is currently teaching in a school or district that has already transitioned to the CCSS for his or her grade level, the Student Learning Objectives should be aligned to the CCSS. If a teacher is teaching in a grade level that has not transitioned, or in a content area not covered by the CCSS, he or she should align the Student Learning Objectives to the RI GSEs/GLEs or other national standards.

18. Is it acceptable that my department or my grade-level team has decided to share a Student Learning Objective?
Absolutely, the practice of collaboration and sharing of objectives by teams of educators (e.g., 2nd grade team, 9th grade ELA teachers, or Science Dept.) in the Student Learning Objective writing process is encouraged whenever possible. However, identical Student Learning Objectives cannot be used by teams of teachers unless they are co-teachers of the same students. Teams of teachers who are sharing a Student Learning Objective might have the same language in most sections, but must have distinct baseline data results and corresponding targets accounting for the students on their class roster.

19. What if I am the sole teacher for a particular grade and subject combination? Should I set Student Learning Objectives alone?
The practice of setting Student Learning Objectives in isolation is not a recommended practice. If a teacher does not have a team with which to develop Student Learning Objectives, they are encouraged to collaborate with teachers of the same course across the district or with teachers of other grades/content areas within their school. Though these teachers might teach different content, they may be able to assist in reviewing baseline data, identifying priority content areas, creating high-quality assessments, or administering and scoring the evidence.

20. What if I teach a course that cannot be aligned to my building administrator’s Student Learning Objectives?
A teacher’s Student Learning Objectives should be aligned to the building administrator’s Student Learning Objectives when they pertain to the content and grade levels taught. For example, if the administrator has set a Student Learning Objective for elementary mathematics and a teacher is responsible for elementary mathematics, at least one of the teacher’s Student Learning Objectives should be aligned with the administrator’s. In other cases, the connection is less obvious but can usually be made. For example, consider an art teacher whose building administrator set a Student Learning Objective around writing. The art teacher could write a Student Learning Objective that incorporates and supports writing within the art curriculum (writing in response to works of art, journaling as part of the creative process, etc.). If a teacher feels that there is no logical connection between the content of their course and the content of their administrator’s Student Learning Objective, he or she should first work with other teachers of the same subject to consider options. The teacher should also reach out to their evaluator to determine a solution.

21. Can a building administrator set a Student Learning Objective that teachers have to adopt as their own?
A building administrator is ultimately responsible for approving the Student Learning Objectives for the teachers on their case load and can require teachers to adopt certain elements of a Student Learning Objective, including the objective statement, standards, and evidence source. However, certain elements of a Student Learning Objectives must be differentiated for the teacher’s specific assignment and students. The targets, for example, should be set based on the students’ specific baseline data.

22. What if I teach one course but my main responsibilities are administrative (such as a Department Chair or Librarian)? Will I be evaluated as a teacher, including Student Learning Objectives, even though my teaching assignment is only a small portion of my job?
Educators whose main responsibility is not teaching, but who do teach a course, should discuss with their evaluator which evaluation model makes the most sense based upon their role and responsibilities.

23. Can I use the same Student Learning Objective as last year, even if I have different students?
If an educator is teaching the same course and the objective statement remains a critical focus of the student learning in that class, teachers are encouraged to continue working with a Student Learning Objective from the previous year. Teachers should revisit any previously used Student Learning Objective at the beginning of each interval of instruction to make any necessary revisions, including, updating baseline data and targets for the students currently in that class.

1. The Final Effectiveness Rating Matrix looks like educators have a greater chance of earning a rating of Developing or Ineffective than Highly Effective or Effective. Is this true?
No, the Rhode Island Model is a standards-based system. It is designed so that all educators have the opportunity to attain scores of ‘3’ or ‘4’ on the three evaluation criteria of Student Learning and Professional Practice and Professional Foundations. Educators who do not attain those scores can work toward attaining those scores in the future.

The Final Effectiveness Rating Matrix was developed with educator profiles in mind and was not developed to force a specific distribution of educator performance. The combined ratings in the Final Effectiveness Rating Matrix cells are not random. They are determined by combining the ratings for Student Learning, and Professional Practice and Professional Foundations; therefore low ratings in the two areas will result in a lower overall final effectiveness rating. In addition, none of the cells within the Final Effectiveness Rating Matrix are limited to a certain percentage.

1. Why do LEAs need to submit evaluation data to RIDE?
Standard Six of the Evaluation System Standards establishes the expectation that LEAs report evaluation data to RIDE. RIDE uses evaluation data for certification renewal decisions as well as to monitor the quality and fidelity of evaluation systems and to guide us in the improvement of evaluation systems across the state.

2. What data elements will LEAs report to RIDE?
LEAs will report the following data elements to RIDE through the EPSS: Professional Practice ratings (PP); Professional Foundations (PF)/Responsibilities ratings; combined PP and PF scores; Student Learning Objective ratings; Rhode Island Growth Model ratings; and final effectiveness ratings.

3. Will RIDE release evaluation data to the media?
The Access to Public Records Act in Rhode Island is clear that “information in personnel files maintained to hire, evaluate, promote, or discipline any employee of a public body” is “exempt from public disclosure." Educator evaluations definitely fall within this category, and therefore the R.I. Department of Education will not release individual evaluation results to the public or to the media. Commissioner Gist sent a letter to all educators in March, 2012 that further explained this safeguard.

1. When will evaluation ratings count toward certification renewal for educators in regular assignments and part-time assignments?
For educators who are in regular assignments for 135 days or more, their final effectiveness rating that is reported to RIDE will be used as part of the certification renewal process. Regular employment is defined as any appointment to a tenure-track position in a public school that requires the individual to hold a certificate issued by RIDE. Substitute teachers (per-diem or long-term), individuals working pursuant to a limited-period appointment, and holders of an emergency permit do not hold regular employment.

While districts have the flexibility to decide how to evaluate substitutes and individuals in temporary assignments, RIDE encourages LEAs to evaluate all of their educators. Participating in the evaluation process is a critical step toward improving teaching and learning and establishing a culture of high expectations for all.

If an educator in a regular assignment goes on leave during the school year, the educator should work with their evaluator to complete as much of the evaluation process as possible and appropriate. Each leave situation is unique, but any educator who works for 135 days or more will be expected to have a complete evaluation, including a final effectiveness rating.

2. How does a final effectiveness rating of Developing impact certification renewal?
If an educator earns at least one final-effectiveness rating of Developing or higher, the Professional Educator Certificate will be renewed as a five-year Professional Educator Certificate. The educator will also need to submit evidence of professional development for each rating of Developing or Ineffective. RIDE will develop a process and standards for the submission of the required professional development. If an educator earns all Effective or Highly Effective ratings, they will not need to submit evidence of professional development as part of the certification renewal process.

3. How will educators in private schools become recertified if evaluation ratings are used for certification renewal of public school teachers?
Educators in private schools will renew certificates by submitting an application and paying the appropriate fees.

4. How will retired educators and administrators renew certification if they are not being evaluated?
Educators not using their certification (for instance, if they are retired) will not need evaluation ratings for renewal. They can renew certificates by submitting an application for “inactive renewal” and paying the appropriate fees.

1. How were the FFTPS videos scored?
FFTPS is a product purchased by RIDE to support the work of evaluators, and the Educational Testing Service (ETS) led the master scoring work. A team of master coders from across the nation, with a minimum of 20 years of experience in K-12 schools collaborated on this project. Master coders were trained by the ETS research and assessment development team, and a final review was then completed by Charlotte Danielson, the creator of the Danielson Framework for Teaching, and members of the Danielson group. Once the determinations were finalized, master coders then wrote the rationales, and a different master coder then reviewed all of the examples for each component.

2. What is the nature of the FFTPS Proficiency Test?
The FFTPS Proficiency Test assesses the accuracy of the evaluator against master scorers. The first stage of the test serves as a screening phase for the second stage. Both stages include observation scoring and selected-response items.

3. Why is the FFTPS Proficiency Test 6-7 hours? Can you shorten the test?
The FFTPS Proficiency Test is a standardized assessment that RIDE cannot modify. Recent test performance data indicates that most test takers take approximately 5 hours to complete the Proficiency Test.

4. How will RIDE use the FFTPS Proficiency Test results?
RIDE expects all personnel responsible for evaluating teachers in LEAs implementing the Rhode Island Model to complete and pass the FFTPS Observer Training and the Proficiency Test by June 15, 2013. RIDE will analyze the statewide FFTPS Proficiency Test data to help plan targeted training and support for evaluators based on the areas of the rubric identified as the greatest need. The results will not be used for any individual certification decisions. Individual superintendents or charter school leaders can request access to the proficiency test results for their evaluators.

5. Can Teachscape reduce the window of time required before retesting?
Yes. We contacted Teachscape and they have reduced the waiting period from 90 days to 14 days.

6. Is it possible to receive more information following each stage of the Proficiency Test?
Beyond the sub-skills report, we cannot release any additional information about a test taker’s performance following each stage of the test. It is our policy to not disclose any information that may advantage one test taker over another, such as item-level performance, correct scores, or any other information that would make the correct answer to an item known. Maintaining this policy allows us to preserve the security of each test form and the integrity of test scores.

7. Is it possible to increase the number of times individuals can retake the Proficiency Test?
At this time, due to content and systems constraints, test takers are limited to two full rounds of testing. Within a round, an individual has two attempts to pass each given stage.

8. When an individual fails the test, she/he must currently retake the entire test. Is it possible to retake only the portions where the individual did not pass?
All test takers are required to begin their retake opportunity (defined as Round 2) at Stage 1. In addition to systems constraints that prohibit selective retesting, there is insufficient evidence to confirm that this process has no impact on the psychometric properties of the test. We believe that it is to the advantage of the test taker to begin Round 2 at Stage 1 as a higher Stage 1 score will increase his or her chance of passing the test when Stage 1 and Stage 2 scores are combined.

9. Is this portion of training required or optional?
While RIDE is not imposing a consequence for non-completion of the FFTPS or attendance at face-to-face trainings or the video system training, both are part of the approved model. As you know, the evaluation system standards outline that all approved evaluation models must provide robust training for evaluators and must assure that evaluators can make accurate judgments. The training plan is part of the approved model. Any principal who steps outside of any portion of the approved model puts evaluation results at risk. For example, the approved model requires a minimum of three observations. If only two observations are conducted and a teacher challenges their final effectiveness rating, the rating is at risk because the approved process was not followed. The same is true for completing the outlined training for the model.

10. What is the deadline for completing the video training and assessments?
RIDE is extending the deadline to June 15, 2013.

11. Do evaluators have to pass the FFTPS Proficiency Test?
Yes, since the deadline has been extended to June 15, 2013, and test takers will be able to take the test multiple times, all evaluators need to pass the Proficiency Test.

12. Can test takers who have already passed continue to practice and retake the assessments to improve?
Test takers who have already passed the FFTPS Proficiency Test cannot currently retake the test, although we have asked Teachscape to consider this possibility. Test takers can, however, continue to use the scoring practice component of the system. The scoring practice provides evaluators an opportunity to practice their observation skills using master-scored classroom videos. An evaluator views online videos of real classrooms; scores the videos using the Teacher Professional Practice rubric; and receives feedback and compares his or her scores with the master scores assigned by an expert. Rationales are provided for each score assigned by master scorers.

13. Instead of waiting a set amount of time to retake the Proficiency Test after failing, could the Proficiency Test be re-opened after the evaluator completes additional practice?
The system enforces a standard wait time of 90 days between two rounds of testing for the following reasons:
  •  To ensure that observers take the time to train and practice and work toward "proficiency" rather than retake the test with a "memorability" advantage. Having a wait period that applies equally to all observers ensures equity. Allowing observers to retest "at will" will increase chances of their passing not based on proficiency but based on test memorability. 
  • The system is currently setup, both in terms of technology and content (limited number of test forms), to maintain the wait period and make sure observers have fewer chances at same-form retesting, which is not desirable in establishing true observer proficiency. 
RIDE has appealed this 90-day period and has been granted a reduced wait period of 14 days before retaking, which is the minimal allowable time between two test rounds.

1.Why is my evaluation tied to my certification?
We believe that implementing a fair, accurate, and meaningful Support Professional Evaluation and Support System will help improve student outcomes. The primary purpose of the Rhode Island Model is to help all support professionals become more effective in their work. In the past, certification renewal was tied to professional development and education credits. Effective January 1, 2012, the renewal decision for all educator certifications that are issued after January 1, 2012 is based exclusively on performance. An educator’s performance for the purposes of certification renewal is determined by the evaluation ratings the educator receives from state approved, local evaluation systems.

More information on certification can be found at: Renewal Based on Performance [PDF, 113KB]

2. How does my evaluation differ if I am part time?
For educators who are in regular assignments for 135 days or more, their final effectiveness rating that is reported to RIDE will be used as part of the certification renewal process. Regular employment is defined as any appointment to a tenure-track position in a public school that requires the individual to hold a certificate issued by RIDE irrespective of full time or part time status. While all components of the model will be implemented, it is under the discretion of the district evaluation committee to develop a timeframe for part time employees.

If an educator in a regular assignment goes on leave during the school year, the educator should work with their evaluator to complete as much of the evaluation process as possible and appropriate. Each leave situation is unique, but any educator who works for 135 days or more will be expected to have a complete evaluation, including a final effectiveness rating.

3. Is a substitute evaluated using this model?
While districts have the flexibility to decide how to evaluate substitutes and individuals in temporary assignments, RIDE encourages LEAs to evaluate all of their educators. Participating in the evaluation process is a critical step toward improving teaching and learning and establishing a culture of high expectations for all. Substitute ratings will not be reported to RIDE.

4. What is the suggested time for each part of the evaluation?
A recommended outline of the process can be found on page seven of the Support Professionals Evaluation and Support System guidebook. The actual deadlines for each component of the model will be decided by your district evaluation committee.

5. How does each part of the evaluation affect my final rating?
The Final Effectiveness Rating for support professionals will combine an individual’s student learning score with professional practice and professional foundations score. The PP and PF score and the Student Learning score will be combined using the matrix on page 38 of the Support Professionals Evaluation and Support System guidebook.

6. Who is participating in gradual implementation?
All RI districts are participating in gradual implementation. There are currently two models for support professionals; the Rhode Island Model, and the Innovation Consortium’s model. Refer to your district as to what model you are using.

7. Who will be evaluating support professionals?
Districts have the flexibility to decide who will complete evaluations of their support professionals. This could include building principals/assistant principals, central office staff, regional staff or others as deemed appropriate by the district. Identified evaluators will receive in-depth training on the support professional’s model during the summer of 2014. RIDE currently has an online module available to all evaluators to support gradual implementation this year. The module can be found on the RIDE website by visitng http://ride.ri.gov/EdEval-OnlineModules.

8. Where can I obtain information about the RI Model for Support Professionals Evaluation and Support System?
You can find the guidebook, rubrics, and online modules on the RIDE website at: http://www.ride.ri.gov/EdEval

9. Who can I contact if I have questions?
You can contact your building administrator, RIDE ISPs, district’s evaluation committee or access online resources on the RIDE website at: http://www.ride.ri.gov/EdEval.

For additional questions you may contact RIDE staff directly at edeval@ride.ri.gov.

10. How do I decide what to make the focus of my SOO?
First, if possible, collaborate with other similar Support Professionals so that you are not going through the process in isolation. To determine the priority of content for a Student Outcome Objective, ask yourself, “What are the most important knowledge/skill(s) I want my students to attain by the end of the interval of service? What is the specific outcome that I am working to achieve with my students?” Evaluators will be asking themselves, “Is the objective focused on important content/skills or conditions that facilitate access to learning? Is the scope or grain-size appropriate for the interval of instruction or service delivery?” when approving SOOs.

11. How large does my group need to be for my SOO?
While we aspire for all students for whom a Support Professional is responsible for to be included in their set of Student Outcome Objectives, it is not a requirement. There is no size minimum; rather, the number of students included is dependent on the individual context of the Support Professional. However, no student enrolled in a program or service should be excluded from a Student Outcome Objective.

12. Can a group of Support Professionals use the same SOO?
Absolutely, the practice of collaboration and sharing of objectives by teams of support professionals (e.g., two Reading Specialists or all Library Media Specialists in a district) in the Student Outcome Objective writing process is encouraged whenever possible. However, identical Student Outcome Objectives cannot be used by teams of Support Professionals unless they are working together with the same students. Teams of Support Professionals who are sharing a Student Outcome Objective might have the same language in most sections, but must have distinct baseline data results and corresponding targets accounting for their own students.

13. Can I use the same SOO next year?
If a Support Professional is acting in the same role with similar students and the objective statement remains a critical focus of the student outcomes in that situation, Support Professionals are encouraged to continue working with a Student Outcome Objective from the previous year. Support Professionals should revisit any previously used Student Outcome Objective at the beginning of each interval of service to make any necessary revisions, including, updating baseline data and targets for the students included.

14. How do I write an SOO if I work in more than one school?
If a Support Professional works in more than one school then the Support Professional should discuss with the Building Administrator’s in those schools to determine who will be the primary evaluator. The Support Professional could have one SLO in each school.

Educator Performance and Support System (EPSS) FAQS

1. Where do I go to log into RIDEmap and access the EPSS?
RIDEmap home page

2. Where can I find more information about how to log into RIDEmap?
You can find additional information about logging in at the RIDEmap portal, including a step-by-step user guide at the RIDEmap home page.

3. I did not enter the three security questions when I created my account in the RIDEmap portal. Will this be an issue?
You can add the security questions and answers when you log on by clicking on the “Update user profile” link. You will see an option to answer the self-service questions, which you should respond to. You will want the security questions associated with your account in the event that you have forgotten your password and need to reset it.

4. If someone’s name is spelled incorrectly in the EPSS, how do I fix it?
All information about EPSS users is updated nightly based on the information associated with their account in the RIDEmap portal. Spelling changes and other edits should be made in the RIDEmap account information and they will be reflected in the EPSS the next day.

5. What is the process for adding or removing users from a school or district in the EPSS?
EPSS access is determined based on user information in the RIDEmap portal. If an EPSS user needs to be added or removed from a school or district, their role in the RIDEmap portal needs to be updated and the changes will be reflected in the EPSS the next day.

1. Will an annual fee associated with system usage be required of all districts moving forward?
No, there will not be an annual fee. Part of RIDE’s vision was to work with a vendor that would transfer the management and development of the system to RIDE IT staff over the next few years. A large consideration in setting up the project this way was to avoid an annual fee for districts to pay the vendor to maintain the system in the longer term.

2. Is the EPSS iPad®/tablet-compatible?
Yes, EPSS is compatible with iPad®, iPhone®, Android™-based tablets and mobile devices, as well as standard laptop and desktop computers.

3. What browsers does the EPSS support?
The EPSS will run on current versions of all mainstream browsers on both operating systems, Windows and Mac OS. This includes: Google Chrome, Internet Explorer 8 (or higher), Mozilla Firefox 3.0 (or higher), and Apple Safari 4 (or higher). For optimal page loading speed, Google Chrome is recommended.

4. Will evaluators be able to use the EPSS to take observation notes in classrooms where they don’t have internet access?
Yes, the EPSS allows evaluators to capture observation notes offline. The evaluator opens the desired form(s) while he/she has connectivity. Then, the evaluator moves to the location without internet access and captures their notes on the form(s). The data is stored on the evaluator's local device (e.g. laptop, iPad, mobile device, etc.). When the evaluator moves back into an area where connectivity is re-established, the EPSS automatically prompts the evaluator to sync the data with the server.

5. Do the scheduling tools in the EPSS integrate with existing calendar systems, such as Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook?
When evaluation components are scheduled, users are given an option to easily download a calendar file, which can be added to the user’s personal and/or professional calendar application. Although there is not an automated calendar synchronization or schedule checker, this “ics” file can be downloaded to and used in any major calendar application.

(Note: the Rhode Island Model EPSS configuration for educators has a different set-up than the other state-approved models in the EPSS)

1. Who enters dates into the calendar on the Rhode Island Model dashboard?
Dates are populated on the calendar as they are scheduled by the evaluator. The teacher will also receive an email notification when items are scheduled.

2. If we have our own district’s evaluation model will content related to that model automatically appear on our own dashboard?
Yes, LEAs using the Rhode Island Model will see the dashboard. LEAs using other approved models will see a slightly different dashboard populated with the forms and tasks related to the approved model their LEA is using.

3. Will I put important dates in the calendar on my EPSS Rhode Island Model dashboard or will my evaluator do that?
The items that appear in the EPSS calendar, observations and conferences, appear automatically after they are scheduled by the evaluator. There is also an email notification for the evaluator and the person being evaluated (in all cases except an unannounced observation).

4. Even though LEAs not using the Rhode Island Model will not have a dashboard calendar on the educator dashboard, can they still schedule observations, etc. via the EPSS? Will the observations and conferences be tracked (when they were scheduled, when they happened)?
Yes, there is still the ability to send and receive calendar invites that sync with your work or personal calendar. The scheduled and completed events are still tracked in the system even though there is not a calendar feature on the dashboard.

1. What are the restrictions on file type and size for artifacts being uploaded in the EPSS?
The artifact upload tools in the system allow for any electronic file type to be uploaded, from a standard Microsoft Word document to dynamic video and audio files. LEAs should consider the programs that are installed on the machines in their schools to provide guidance to users about uploading evidence. Although the EPSS will allow the upload of virtually any kind of file, that file can only be launched/viewed if the necessary application is installed on the device/computer being used. For example, a PDF file stored within EPSS can only be viewed by a user if the user’s machine has a PDF reader application (e.g., Adobe Acrobat) installed.

2. How many artifacts are needed for each Professional Growth Goal? Is there a required number?
This is a local decision. The evaluation model does not dictate a set number of artifacts required for goals or Professional Foundations.

3. How long are artifacts retained in the system?
The artifacts will be saved with the record as long as the user is active in the EPSS (or until they are deleted by the user).

4. Where can I find step-by-step instructions for uploading artifacts?
There is an overview of how to upload artifacts in the Getting Started Guide for educators. The Getting Started Guide can be found on the RIDE website.

5. Can artifacts be uploaded and modified at a later date?
The artifact upload tool has the ability to edit information about the artifact, such as the name of the artifact, the description and the categories it is aligned to. If the actual file needs to be changed, it will need to be removed and replaced with a new file.

6. What role does the LEA play in helping teachers upload artifacts?
Teachers using the EPSS to upload artifacts will need to work with their LEAs to determine what resources are available to create electronic files to upload.

7. What if there is limited technology at my school to upload artifacts electronically?
EPSS will accept artifacts in any electronic file format. Educators should work with their LEA to determine what resources are available, and the system will be able to handle the format.

8. If an artifact is uploaded into the system using a program that I don’t have installed on my computer, does that system provide a way for me to open or view that artifact anyway?
No, however, since the EPSS is a web-based tool that can be accessed from any machine with internet connectivity, a user who can’t open a file on one machine (because it doesn’t have the correct program) can easily log in from a machine that does have that program installed and open the document from there.

1. What if there is a set of standards I want to use that I don’t see in the standard selector tool on the Student Learning Objective form?
If you notice that there are sets of local or national standards you would like to recommend to be included that are not currently in the selector tool, you should email your suggestions for consideration to EdEval@ride.ri.gov.

2. How does an educator revise their Student Learning Objectives after they have been approved?
When a set of Student Learning Objectives is approved and finalized by the evaluator, all the Student Learning Objectives are locked from further editing. If, at any time (including the Mid-Year Conference), one or more Student Learning Objectives need to be revised, the Student Learning Objective set can be reopened by the evaluator by changing the status to “Needs Revision”, which reopens the form for editing. After the edits are made, the set of Student Learning Objectives needs to be resubmitted by the educator, reviewed and approved by the evaluator.

3. If there is a shared grade-level Student Learning Objective within a school, can one teacher put in the information and have it go into another’s file?
Currently there is not functionality available in the EPSS to share Student Learning Objectives between teachers electronically. Teachers who are using shared Student Learning Objectives would need to enter them separately within their own evaluation record(s).

4. If a teacher submits a Student Learning Objective set for approval and that teacher is on multiple evaluators’ caseloads, who gets the email notification indicating that the Student Learning Objectives are ready for approval?
Email notifications will go to every evaluator with "Submit" rights on the Student Learning Objective form.

5. Are there completed Student Learning Objective samples posted by grade level on the RIDE website?
Yes, there are Student Learning Objective samples by different grade level and content area posted on the RIDE website.

1. How are evaluation rights shared between more than one evaluator?
District Configuration Administrators can assign either full evaluation rights or component-level rights to as many evaluators as they need to for anyone in their LEA. A step-by-step description of how to share caseloads, which is covered the District Configuration Administrator user guides posted on the RIDE website.

2. Who is allowed to serve as an evaluator?
LEAs have the flexibility to assign who will serve as an evaluator. Every educator will have a primary evaluator, who will be responsible for the overall evaluation process, including assigning final ratings. Some LEAs may also decide to use complementary evaluators to assist the primary evaluator.

3. Who can set up evaluation caseloads in the EPSS?
The designated EPSS District Configuration Administrator(s) have rights to set up caseloads for individuals in their LEA.

4. Is there a formal difference between primary and complementary/ secondary evaluators in the EPSS?
District Configuration Administrators can designate multiple evaluators for one user, but they do not specify if the evaluator is “primary” or “complementary”. However, the District Configuration Administrator can assign different levels of access to the evaluation record based on the role they will play in the evaluation work (e.g., a department head has component-level rights to the observation component but not the final conference form where the final effectiveness rating will be displayed and finalized).

5. How will the evaluation caseloads be set up by default?
When the system goes live in September, caseloads will be set up with the building principals in all schools as the evaluator for all teachers associated with that school. Superintendents will have view access evaluation records for building administrators and teachers in their district. District Configuration Administrators will need to make adjustments to the default assignments to include additional evaluators for teachers (such as complimentary evaluators, assistance principals, etc.) and to give superintendents edit access to evaluate building administrators.

6. Will reports be available to monitor aspects of evaluations that need to be completed?
Yes, the EPSS will offer several tools to monitor the completion status of evaluation components. For example, the “Detail View” reporting feature provides evaluators with a comprehensive list of all evaluation components and the users for whom they have evaluation rights. The views can be easily customized by individual evaluators and saved to quickly access the information that is most important, including summaries of the completion status of the various evaluation components. In addition, several standard system reports, such as “Unacknowledged Elements” and “Percent Complete by Building” assist in tracking completion status.

7. If two evaluators are co-observing the same teacher, can they update a page in the system at the same time, while viewing the information the other user is entering (like you do in GoogleDocs™)?
Real-time, shared screen collaboration is not supported. Two users can work on the same form at the same time, but they cannot see each other’s work. The last version saved is the version that is retained, so some coordination is advised.

1. After you hit “submit” on a form, is there any way to go back and edit the form, or do you just start a new form and re-submit?
You would not need to start a new form. After it is submitted, your evaluator has the ability to re-open any form for editing. Contact your evaluator if you know you would like to edit a form after you have hit submit.

2. How many past years’ data will be accessible in the future?
Teachers will retain read-only access to their record in the EPSS as long as they are active in the EPSS.

3. On the Rhode Island Model Professional Growth Goal form, is the evaluator the only one who enters whether a goal is met?
On the Rhode Island Model Professional Growth Goals form, the teacher is the one who can edit the goal status, not the evaluator. As a reminder, the Professional growth Plan is not a “scored” element of the system. For more guidance about the Professional Growth Goal form for districts using the Rhode Island Model, see page 19 of the Rhode Island Model Teacher Evaluation and Support System – Edition II guidebook.

4. Where can I get a refresher on how the classroom observation form works?
There is a detailed PDF guide and video about the classroom observation form posted right now on the EPSS page of the RIDE website.

5. Where is the scratch pad and how do I access it?
It is the small icon that looks like a post-it note in the upper right hand corner of the screen. You can open the tool by double-clicking it. It is available to a user on any form that the user has the rights to edit. It is most widely used by evaluators to capture notes during classroom observations or school visits.

1. Where can I find recorded webinars and video tutorials about the EPSS?
On the EPSS page of the RIDE website.

2. Will users working outside of normal business hours have access to support?
Users can access self-directed help documents and video tutorials online 24 hours a day. For users who need additional support, they can access online help from the RIDE help desk via the RIDEmap portal and from the EPSS vendor (My Learning Plan) directly from the EPSS interface at any time.

3. Will there be other webinars throughout the year as we get to know the EPSS?
As additional features are added, there will be additional sessions to demonstrate how to use the new features. There will also be opportunities to participate in focus groups and raise questions and provide feedback about the system.

4. Where can I find the EPSS user manual?
There is currently a set of comprehensive EPSS help guides, divided into content-specific sections for ease of use. They are posted on the EPSS page.

5. If there are any major changes along the way that are pertinent to the application use, is there a way of alerting the user when they log in?
We will be working to alert users of system changes and upgrades through multiple avenues, including the RIDEmap portal that you will log into to access the EPSS, as well as the RIDE website.

6. How do we handle error messages or other technical difficulties?
The RIDEmap help desk team is available to provide technical support. You can reach the support system at the RIDEmap home page. For information about live and web-based training sessions, as well as self-guided help documents and videos, visit the training tab of the EPSS page. RIDE will also be staffing a help desk for the RIDEmap portal and all systems associated with the portal, including the EPSS.