FAQ

WHAT IS RISE?

Q:
What are the benefits for educators?
link
A:

Teachers deserve to be treated like professionals.  Unfortunately, current evaluations treat teachers like interchangeable parts—rating nearly all teachers good or great and failing to give teachers the accurate, useful feedback they need to do their best work in the classroom. Teachers deserve regular feedback on their performance, opportunities for professional growth, and recognition when they do exceptional work.

 

A better evaluation system will give principals the tools they need to build strong instructional teams for their schools.  RISE presents an opportunity for principals to engage with teachers as an instructional leader.  Developing and acknowledging great teachers is one of the most important parts of a principal’s job.  This is their chance to spend more time in the classroom, encouraging teachers to collaborate around a shared vision of quality instruction.

 

When teachers succeed, students succeed.  Novice and veteran teachers alike can look forward to detailed, constructive feedback, tailored to the individual needs of their students.  Teachers and principals will meet regularly to discuss successes and areas for improvement, set professional goals, and create an individualized development plan to meet those goals.  The end result is better instruction for every student.

Q:
Why Now?
link
A:

While the nation and the state have spent years debating education reform, students from around the world now routinely outperform American students on nearly all measures of academic achievement.  If we want to dramatically improve education in Indiana, we must re-imagine the systems and policies that collectively shape the learning experience for students.  Our future depends on changing course now.

 

Nothing we can do for our students matters more than giving them effective teachers.  Research has proven this time and again. We need to do everything we can to give all our teachers the support they need to do their best work, because when they succeed, our students succeed.  Without effective evaluation systems, we can’t identify and retain excellent teachers, provide useful feedback and support, or intervene when teachers consistently perform poorly. 

DEVELOPING RISE

Q:
How is student data used?
link
A:

Student learning is the ultimate measure of the success of a teacher, instructional leader, school, or district. To meaningfully assess the performance of an educator or a school, RISE examines the growth and achievement of students, using multiple measures.  Achievement is defined as meeting a uniform and pre-determined level of mastery on subject or grade level standards.  Growth is defined as improving skills required to achieve mastery on a subject or grade level standard over a period of time.
 
Measures of student learning make up between 20 to 50 percent of a teacher’s final evaluation rating.  The Indiana Growth Model is the most common method of measuring growth.  This model will be used to measure the student learning of all math and ELA teachers in grades in 4-8.  To complement the Growth Model, and to account for those teachers who do not have such data available, RISE also includes measures of students’ progress toward specific growth or achievement goals, known as Student Learning Objectives.
 
Student Learning Objectives involve setting rigorous learning goals for students around common assessments.  All teachers will have Student Learning Objectives.  For teachers who have a Growth Model rating, these Objectives will serve as additional measures of student achievement.  For teachers who do not have a Growth Model rating, the Student Learning Objectives will form the basis for the student learning measures.
 
Using the growth model, whole school growth can also be calculated, which is relevant to all teachers in elementary and intermediate schools.  With a national focus on building skills in Math and English, all teachers should contribute to the success of their students in these two areas.  To reflect the importance of this, every teacher in elementary and intermediate schools will have a portion of their final evaluation score tied to whole school growth using the Indiana Growth Model.  High School teachers will also have a component of their evaluation score tied to school-wide student learning.
 
Consequently, grades 4-8 ELA and Math teachers will receive two ratings based on the Indiana growth model: one based on the particular students they teach and one based on all students in their school.  All other teachers will only receive a school-wide rating.
 
For detailed information about how student growth data will be weighted for different groups of teachers, click here.
For a comprehensive guidebook on Student Learning Objectives, click here (.PDF).

Q:
How was RISE Developed?
link
A:

RISE was developed over the course of a year by the Indiana Teacher Evaluation Cabinet, a diverse group of educators and administrators from around the state, more than half of whom have won awards for excellence in teaching.  To make sure that their efforts represented the best thinking from around the state, their work was circulated widely to solicit feedback from educators throughout Indiana.

 

From the beginning, the Indiana Teacher Evaluation Cabinet sought to design a model evaluation system focused on good instruction and student outcomes. RISE was designed to be fair, accurate, transparent, and easy-to-use. 

Q:
How was the RISE cabinet selected?
link
A:

The goal of the RISE cabinet was to assemble a diverse group of educators from across the state to offer feedback on key decisions related to the design of the system.  Policy team members at the DOE invited a number of award winning educators, including Teacher-of-the-Year and Milken Award recipients and runners-up. Those who replied first were given first consideration, and the DOE also gave careful consideration to the demographic, geographic, and professional mix of the cabinet to ensure a group that could best reflect the interests of Indiana educators. 

Q:
How will teachers be rated?
link
A:

Based on a combination of Professional Practice and Student Growth, each teacher will receive one of four holistic ratings at the end of the school year:
 
Highly Effective:  Consistently exceeds expectations for professional practice, student achievement and professional contribution to the school or corporation.
 
Effective: Consistently meets expectations for professional practice, student achievement and professional contribution to the school or corporation.
 
Improvement Necessary: Room for growth in professional practice, student achievement and professional contribution to school or corporation.
 
Ineffective: Consistently fails to meet expectations for professional practice, student achievement and contribution to school or corporation. 

Q:
What are the key components of RISE?
link
A:

The educators who helped design RISE recognize that the classroom is a complex place.  That’s why RISE uses both teacher practice and student performance to paint a complete picture of what’s happening in the classroom.  It is designed to be fair and transparent, so that teachers have a clear understanding of their strengths, and how they can improve.  All educators will be evaluated on two major components:

 

  1. Professional Practice – Assessment of instructional knowledge and skills that impact student learning, as measured by competencies set forth in the Indiana Teacher Effectiveness Rubric.  All teachers will be evaluated in the domains of Planning, Instruction, Leadership, and Core Professionalism.

 

  1. Student Learning – Educator’s contribution to student academic progress, assessed through multiple measures of student academic achievement and growth, including Indiana Growth Model data as well as progress towards specific student learning objectives using state, district, or school-wide assessments.

IMPLEMENTING RISE

Q:
How does RISE comply with requirements set forth in IC 20-28-11.5 legislation?
link
A:

Each classroom – and each school – is different, and RISE is a resource for corporations who are looking for guidance and best practices, which can be customized to fit the unique needs of their principals, teachers, and students.  Whether corporations choose to adopt RISE or a model of their own, the Department’s goal is to assist corporations in developing or adopting models that both comply with IC 20-28-11.5 and are fair, credible and accurate.  Regardless of model or system, evaluations must:
 

  • Be annual: Every teacher, regardless of experience, deserves meaningful feedback on their performance on an annual basis.

 

  • Include Student Growth Data: Evaluations should be student-focused. First and foremost, an effective teacher helps students make academic progress. A thorough evaluation system includes multiple measures of teacher performance, and growth data must be one of the key measures.

 

  • Include Four Rating Categories: To retain our best teachers and principals, we need a process that can truly differentiate our best educators and give them the recognition they deserve. If we want all teachers to perform at the highest level, we need to know which individuals are achieving the greatest success and give support to those who are new or struggling.
Q:
How will overall evaluation scores be calculated?
link
A:

RISE is designed to treat all teachers as fairly and as equally as possible. All teachers will be rated holistically on a combination of Professional Practice and Student Growth.   Wherever possible, it aims to take a teacher’s mix of grades and subjects into account.  It gives the most weight to the measures that are standardized across teachers.  Whenever possible, it also includes the same measures for each teacher. 
 
For detailed information on the scoring and rating process, click here.

Q:
Under the RISE system, how many observations will teachers have each year?
link
A:

All teachers must have a minimum of two extended observations per year – one per semester.  An extended observation lasts a minimum of 40 minutes.  It may be announced or unannounced.  It may take place over one class or span two consecutive class periods.  Extended observations are accompanied by optional pre-conferences and mandatory post-conferences including written feedback within five school days of the observation.
 
In addition, all teachers will have a minimum of three short observations – at least one per semester.  A short observation lasts a minimum of 10 minutes and should not be announced.  There are no conferencing requirements around short observations, but a post-observation conference should be scheduled if there are areas of concern.  A teacher must receive written feedback following a short observation within two school days. 
 
Evaluators may choose to visit classrooms much more frequently than the minimum requirement specified here.

Q:
Who will do the observations?
link
A:

Teacher proficiency will be assessed by a primary evaluator, taking into account information collected throughout the year during extended observations, short observations, and conferences performed by both the primary evaluator as well as secondary evaluators.
 
The primary evaluator is responsible for tracking teacher evaluation results and helping set goals for teachers' development.  At the end of the year, the primary evaluator will look at information collected by all evaluators throughout the year and determine the teacher’s summative rating.  He or she will meet with the teacher to discuss this final rating in an end-of-year conference.
 
A secondary evaluator may perform extended or short observations as well as work with teachers to set Student Learning Objectives.  The data this person collects is passed on to the primary evaluator responsible for assigning a summative rating.
 
Any trained primary or secondary evaluator may perform an extended observation.  The primary evaluator assigning the final, summative rating must perform a minimum of one of the extended observations, and at least one of the short observations. 

Q:
Will observations be scored?
link
A:

Both extended and short observations are times for evaluators to collect information, but there will be no summative rating assigned until all information is collected and analyzed at the end of the year.  However, all evaluators are expected to provide specific and meaningful feedback on performance following all observations.  For more information about measuring Professional Practice using the Teacher Effectiveness Rubric, please click here.

Q:
Is there any additional support for struggling teachers?
link
A:

An important part of developing professionally is the ability to self-reflect on performance.  Although every teacher is encouraged to set goals around his/her performance, teachers who score an “Ineffective” or “Improvement Necessary” on their summative evaluation the previous year are required to have a professional development plan monitored by an evaluator.  The professional development plan is a tool for teachers to assess their own performance and set development goals. In this sense, a professional development plan supports teachers who strive to improve performance, and can be particularly helpful for new teachers.
  
Teachers in their first few years are encouraged to complete a professional development plan along with their primary evaluator.  These teachers will benefit from early and frequent feedback on their performance.  Evaluators should adjust timing of observations and conferences to ensure these teachers receive the support they need. This helps to support growth and also to set clear expectations on the instructional culture of the building and school leadership.

Q:
Is RISE training available now?
link
A:

Training on the RISE system is now available from Indiana Educational Service Centers (ESCs).  Contact your local ESC for more information.  Click here to find your local ESC >>

Q:
How will the student learning piece be evaluated for P.E. teachers?
link
A:

This is a local decision, however, in the RISE model P.E. teachers fall into Group 3. You may view a pie chart that represents one possible way that student learning can be incorporated into your summative evaluation (RISE Handbook, Weighting of Measures). In this example, you would set Student Learning Objectives based on P.E. standards and an assessment that fits the assessment pyramid framework (Student Learning Objectives Handbook, Step 1: Choose Quality Assessments).

Q:
Does RISE provide a rubric for special area teachers, such as music, art, and P.E.?
link
A:

Great teaching can be observed in any subject area or classroom environment. The State’s RISE model for teacher evaluations employs the use of a content-neutral Teacher Effectiveness Rubric (TER), which gives school corporations the option to: 1) use Secondary Evaluators capable of imparting content-specific feedback, but framed in the TER, or 2) develop content-specific rubrics with the collaboration of special area teachers or other stakeholders. Beware of modification guidelines (see RISE Handbook 1.0, modifications).

Q:
Does RISE make suggestions or provide models for Special Education specialists (and others such as psychologists, speech therapists, hearing and vision teachers, behavior therapists, consultants, and social workers) for evaluations?
link
A:

Special Education teachers will write Student Learning Objectives just as other teachers in Group 3. A group of teachers and members of ICASE are currently doing work to provide additional resources for these teachers.
For other specialists, their respective professional organizations have been creating rubrics that more specifically address the work they do. For example, the counselor professional association (ISCA), the psychologist professional association (IASP), and the social worker professional association (INSSWA) are drafting rubrics for professional evaluation.
At this point in time, if you would like to view these draft evaluation rubrics, you’ll need to contact the organizations directly.

Q:
How does RISE account for the differences between local, state, and national assessments used in evaluation?
link
A:

RISE promotes fairness by employing various summative weighting schemes for different groups of teachers based on the data available for each teacher (RISE Handbook, Weighting of Measures), including local, state, and national assessments. The most reliable assessment with the greatest confidence should be used to assess student learning. For this reason, when Growth Data is available for a teacher’s students, the data should be used and given more significant weighting.

Q:
Some terms in the RISE rubric indicators, such as rarely, seldom, infrequently, promptly, and much mean different things to different people. How can we ensure consistent application?
link
A:

This is an ideal place for local conversations to create a common understanding of these terms at the corporation level.  There should be common applications of these terms throughout the school corporation.  RISE districts are always welcome to clarify and specify so that the rubrics are more meaningful at the local level.

REFINING RISE

Q:
How will feedback be collected and used?
link
A:

The IDOE will be collecting feedback from pilot schools throughout the 2011-2012 school year, and will also be fielding questions and concerns through the RISE website.  Please email questions to RISE@doe.in.gov.

Q:
How will RISE change during the pilot year?
link
A:

RISE is being piloted in school corporations across Indiana during the 2011-2012 school year.  The IDOE is committed to soliciting feedback and suggestions from principals and teachers to learn what works, and what can be improved in the second year and beyond to create an evaluation system that meets the needs of all Indiana’s educators.

 

RISE will most definitely change throughout the pilot year based on feedback from our pilot corporations.  Please check back periodically to ensure that you are using the most up-to-date information on RISE for your corporation. 

Q:
Which school districts are currently implementing the RISE pilot program?
link
A:

There are a total of six school corporations currently piloting teacher evaluation systems – three are implementing RISE and three are implementing alternate models. RISE pilots include: Ft. Wayne Community Schools, Greensburg Community Schools, Bloomfield School District; Alternate pilots include: Beech Grove City Schools – TAP, MSD Warren Township – GOTE (self-designed), and Bremen Public Schools – McREL.