2018-2019 is the critical year for complying with the educator evaluation data requirements for Michigan Public Act 173

By Buzz Brown

While it may seem as though it’s been around forever, Michigan Public Act 173 was signed into law in 2015 and governs educator evaluations for teachers and administrators in the State of Michigan. A key requirement mandates that educator evaluations be conducted annually, and that they incorporate student growth data as a significant component, beginning with 25 percent of the evaluation in the 2015-2016 school year and growing to 40 percent in 2018-2019. Teachers and administrators with three consecutive years of highly effective ratings may receive biennial reviews in place of annual reviews, making the 2018-2019 results particularly critical.

After several anxious months not knowing whether proposed legislation would slow the implementation of the 40 percent requirement until 2019-2020, we now know that hopes of that died in Michigan’s lame duck session in December 2018. That takes us back to the beginning – or should I say the end– of the Act’s requirements. Here’s a quick look at key elements of the 40 percent requirement on student growth and assessment data:

  • For core content areas in grades four to eight, in the subjects of English and Math in which M-STEP state assessments are administered, half of the student growth of the 40% discussed above must be measured using the State assessments using three years of prior data, when available.
  • A suggested weight for the three years of data is 50% from the prior school year, 30% two years prior, and 20% three years prior.
  • The portion of student growth not measured using State assessments must be measured using multiple research-based growth measures or alternative assessments that are comparable across schools within the district, intermediate school district, or public school academy. Examples include NWEA, Star or Dibels exams.
  • Student learning objectives are often written by collaborating teachers that teach the same grade or course content in which a common assessment is given and scored for student growth or proficiency. These are also allowed for measurement under PA 173. Examples include common assessments such as nationally normed or locally adopted assessments aligned to State standards.

Why an educator evaluation tool makes sense for PA 173 compliance

Munetrix has taken a comprehensive view of all the educator evaluation mandated requirements of PA 173 and, through its Student Growth Explorer (SGX) tool, created an app that eases compliance in a variety of ways, allowing districts to ditch cumbersome spreadsheets to calculate educator evaluation scores and let administrators do their priority work, such as completing classroom observations and giving targeted feedback based on assessment scores that can lead to increased student achievement.

If you are looking to simplify reporting requirements for this requirement, look at the market for a tool that was designed for Michigan schools and, in addition to offering a database of information that does not leave with the departure of a staff member, look for these three things:

Accuracy: Ensure your educator evaluation tool has been verified for accuracy using the resources provided by the MDE. Depend on a tool with built-in algorithms to accurately calculate educator evaluation scores from multiple sources for teachers across all buildings and all grades.

Flexibility: If the law changes and alters the current 40% student growth formula for educator evaluations, make sure the tool can easily adapt the algorithms to meet the new percentage requirement.

Support: Even easy-to-use apps may raise questions requiring support, virtually or in-person, throughout the evaluation process.

Buzz Brown is a vice president and co-founder of Munetrix. He can be reached at 248.499.8355 or buzz@munetrix.com.