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Planning for Educator Evaluations in the 2020-21 School Year

As a result of the disruption of in-person instruction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Education Commissioner Katy Anthes will convene a stakeholder group to discuss immediate plans for how the state will move forward with statewide assessments, the accountability system and educator evaluations during the 2020-21 school year. The stakeholder group will review the impact of the pandemic on the 2019-20 school year and discuss how the cancellation of state assessments impacted accountability and teacher evaluation systems to make a recommendation for the 2020-21 school year.

The primary goal in Educator Effectiveness is to provide meaningful feedback that enables educators to continually grow as professionals. The typical structures and cycles that enable this feedback process were unfortunately disrupted due to COVID-19. On April 1, Colorado school districts and BOCES were relieved of all mandates related to teacher evaluation from S.B. 10-191 for the 2019-20 school year through an Executive Order by Governor Polis. This allowed districts/BOCES the autonomy to determine what, if any, educator evaluations they would finalize and how to close out evaluations for the 2019-20 school year. The Educator Effectiveness team provided supports to districts/BOCES completing the 2019-20 evaluation cycle through our website (Key Questions and Support for 2019-20 Evaluation Cycle) and opportunities to work with EE Regional Specialists. Additionally, the Educator Talent COVID-19 FAQs page offers information focused on changes to educator evaluation for the 2019-20 school year, along with other impacts to the work of the Educator Talent division.   

To support districts/BOCES and charter schools plan for educator evaluation amid planning for a return to school with so many unknown, and continuously changing contributing factors, please review the following FAQs from the Educator Effectiveness Office.

NOTE: This page will be updated frequently, and additional information, guidance, and resources/supports will be added as they become available. Please check back regularly and contact your Regional Specialist or email with any direct questions and/or requests for support.


2020-2021 Educator Effectiveness FAQs


Q. Are educator evaluations suspended for the 2020-21 year? 

A. No, but a stakeholder group convened by the Education Commissioner will review the impact of COVID-19 on state assessments, accountability and educator evaluations and make a recommendation for the 2020-21 school year. The Educator Effectiveness team will share any recommendation or updates related to the 2020-21 educator evaluation cycle as they become available and  is committed to providing information and supports to districts/BOCES that honors the process of educators receiving meaningful feedback in support of their professional growth.

Q. Is there an executive order that allows districts to evaluate none, some, or all of their educators?  

A. No. The executive order made by the Governor on April 1 focused only on the 2019-20 evaluation cycle.  A stakeholder group will convene this fall to review the impact on COVID-19 on state assessments, accountability and educator evaluations and make a recommendation for how proceed for the 2020-21 school year. It is important for districts/BOCES to have a conversation early to ensure that their values and stakeholder voices are represented in the decision that they make about how they will move forward with evaluations once more information about education evaluation for the 2020-21 school year is available. The Key Questions and Support for 2019-2020 Evaluation Cycle can serve as a starting point for planning conversations in anticipation of the 2020-2021 school year.

Q. Is there a process already in place to determine if educator evaluations will be impacted in any way for this upcoming school year?

Yes. Directed by the legislature, CDE will assemble a group of district/BOCES leaders with expertise in educator evaluation systems reflecting all of the state’s regions. Diversity of perspectives and representation will be part of the nomination and selection process, which will be announced soon. This group will be tasked with reviewing the impact on the 2019-20 school year and discussing how the cancelation of state assessments have impact on the educator evaluation process for this year’s evaluation process. Ultimately, the group will make recommendations on how to proceed for the 2020-21 school year and how those systems can continue to accurately measure student achievement and growth.

Q. Will DPF and SPF ratings be provided to districts next fall?

A. No. Districts and schools (including alternative education campuses) will not receive a 2020 performance framework, nor updated plan types, given that overall ratings assigned are based on achievement and growth on state assessments (along with other measures), and that all state assessments were paused per the Governor’s Executive Order on March 18, 2020, to enable schools and districts to focus on providing alternative learning opportunities for their students. Preliminary and final reports will not be available. District and school plan types will continue to implement their 2019 ratings for the 2020-21 school year. 


Q. Can districts use three-year SPF/DPF ratings in Measures of Student Learnings for 2020-21 educator evaluations? 

A. These frameworks were designed for school and district accountability purposes. Thus, districts need to think carefully about how to use the SPF/DPF data for educator evaluations. Additionally, given that the available data does not reflect any of the events that have transpired due to COVID-19, it is not recommended that a district use this data in the creation of their MSLs for the 2020-21 evaluation cycle. When selecting measures related to the SPF or DPF, consider whether they capture student growth (e.g., student growth percentile [SGP]) or student achievement (e.g., percent proficient or advanced). It is important to be purposeful about this decision and to weigh any potential unintended consequences.


Q. How will districts/BOCES create the required MSL portion of their educator evaluations with limited state assessment data from 2019-20?  

A. When available, statewide summative assessment results are to be used within the MSL portion of educator evaluations C.C.R.5.01(D)(7)(c). The state assessments that were put on hold this year were CMAS, PSAT and SAT. Consider local and vendor-based assessments when determining MSLs for the 2020-21 school year. These may include, and are not limited to, NWEA, ACCESS, DIBELS and classroom-based assessments.


Q. Recognizing that educators have not been trained at a deep level around online education, are there considerations for their proficiency ratings on the current rubric?

A: The State Model Evaluation Rubric for Teachers was designed to measure teacher quality through practices that can be implemented in any setting. As such, educators and evaluators should work together to consider how the shifts from face-to-face to online learning may change the “look” and “feel” of professional practices in the rubric as well as any additional supports that may be needed to implement them.

For example, how an educator uses pacing and transitions to foster a predictable learning environment (Standard 2, Element A) may take on different forms in virtual classrooms that are not managed by school bells and physical routines as much as by slide transitions and digital cues. Likewise, practices related to student collaboration and teamwork (Standard 3, Element E) may occur within virtual chatrooms monitored by the educator rather than through group work in a physical classroom setting. If questions arise about how a specific professional practice applies in a virtual setting, educators and evaluators should consider the element in which it resides and work together to determine how it can best be measured within the hybrid or online platform being used. 


Q. How does the observation process change in a hybrid or online instructional model?  

A. Observations of practice are an essential component of supporting educator growth as they provide the basis for feedback and support within both face-to-face and virtual teaching environments. Within hybrid or online instructional models, evaluators may not be able to physically observe every lesson in a classroom setting, yet they may continue to observe virtual lessons and conference with educators to provide coaching and feedback around their instruction. To determine the best model for conducting virtual observations, educators and evaluators are strongly encouraged to work closely with local Performance Evaluation Councils (formerly known as 1338 councils) to review local policies and consider how such designations as “formal” and “informal” as well as “announced” and “unannounced” will be applied within hybrid or online environments. Attention should also be given to how and when feedback will be delivered and what model will best suit local educators and evaluators in discussing observation evidence and “next steps” for educator growth and development.


Q.  What resources and supports are available to districts and BOCES?

A. Your Regional Educator Effectiveness Specialist is available to walk through this with you. In addition, CDE is offering a Planning for 2020-21 Framework and Toolkit for School and District Leaders that provides considerations, resources and links in support of planning for the 2020-21 school year.




NOTE: This page will be updated frequently, and additional information, guidance, and resources/supports will be added as they become available. Please check back regularly and contact your Regional Specialist or email with any direct questions and/or requests for support.