Research Brief: Implementation of the New Educator Evaluation System in Massachusetts


Comstock, M., Humphrey, D., & Hsieh, T. (2014). Implementation of the New Educator Evaluation System in Massachusetts. Research brief. Menlo Park: SRI International.


SRI International and its research partners, ABT Associates, Nancy Brigham Associates, and J. Koppich and Associates are evaluating the implementation of the new Massachusetts Educator Evaluation Framework. During the 2013-14 school year, the second year of the study, the research team conducted educator interviews and focus groups in 12 Massachusetts case study districts, administered a statewide survey of principals and school staff, and analyzed 110 school staff evaluation files from three districts. The research brief summarizes the following key findings from the independent evaluation:

  • Nearly all Massachusetts educators have participated in the new evaluation system.
  • Principals reported far more positive views of the new evaluation system than school staff. School staff’s mixed opinions of the new evaluation system seemed to hinge on whether they saw the system as focused on support and improvement or on accountability and compliance.
  • A majority of educators reported receiving sufficient training on the new evaluation system, although administrators reported having a stronger understanding of it than school staff.
  • A majority of educators found the workload required to implement the new evaluation system burdensome.
  • Specific implementation challenges with goal-setting, evidence collection, and observations and feedback have resulted in fragmented experiences with the five-step evaluation cycle.
  • Most educators perceived their own evaluator’s assessment of their performance as fair, but school staff perceived inconsistencies within and across schools in how evaluators conducted evaluations and expressed concern about the fairness of the system as a whole.
  • Districts were implementing the evaluation system along with other complicated initiatives, and most were trying to explicitly integrate the evalution system with these other initiatives.

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