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Updates from TEA

T-TESS Update (7-15-2020)
Given the increase in virtual classrooms and requests from districts statewide, the TEA is developing an aligned T-TESS rubric which isolates relevant, high-leverage practices in virtual instruction settings. This streamlined rubric will address the Planning, Instruction, and Learning Environment domains, including all current T-TESS dimensions within these domains. The rubric communicates best practices for virtual instruction and allows for focused observations and feedback with virtual instruction teachers. We anticipate this resource will be available late August 2020.

The Texas Education Agency has posted guidance for school districts on Educator Appraisal Waivers for the 2019-2020 school year if needed. Please review the TEA website and documents listed below for specific details and updates.

TEA Webpage: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support and Guidance

Guidance on Educator and Staff Issues and Educator Evaluations and Non-renewal

Instructions for Submitting an Educator Appraisal Waiver

The Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS) is a system designed by educators to support teachers in their professional growth.

What is T-TESS?

T-TESS strives to capture the holistic nature of teaching – the idea that a constant feedback loop exists between teachers and students, and gauging the effectiveness of teachers requires a consistent focus on how students respond to their teacher’s instructional practices. For those reasons, each of the observable domains in T-TESS focuses on teachers and students rather than separating them out into separate domains. Ultimately, T-TESS is a process that seeks to develop habits of continuous improvement, and the process itself best leads to that outcome when appraisers and teachers focus on evidence-based feedback and professional development decisions based on that feedback through ongoing dialogue and collaboration.

T-TESS includes three components:

  • Goal-setting and professional development plan
  • The evaluation cycle (including: pre-conference, observation, post-conference)
  • Student growth measure

The T-TESS Rubric

The T-TESS Rubric includes 4 Domains and 16 Dimensions. T-TESS domain and dimension rubrics include specific descriptors of practices and 5 performance levels; Distinguished, Accomplished, Proficient, Developing, and Improvement Needed.


  • Standards and Alignment
  • Data and Assessment
  • Knowledge of Students
  • Activities


  • Achieving Expectations
  • Content Knowledge and Expertise
  • Communication
  • Differentiation
  • Monitor and Adjust

Learning Environment

  • Classroom Environment, Routines and Procedures
  • Managing Student Behavior
  • Classroom Culture

Professional Practices and Responsibilities

  • Professional Demeanor and Ethics
  • Goal Setting
  • Professional Development
  • School Community Involvement


The purpose of the teacher’s role during this process is to share insights and think about his or her pedagogy and professional practices. A goal of the evaluation process is to include the teacher in a systematic way that assists with individualized professional growth and development.

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The appraiser has a vital role in assessing teaching proficiency and ensuring that teachers and administrators derive reliable and meaningful information from the teacher evaluation process. By providing evidence-based feedback, appraisers help teachers and administrators make decisions that support efforts to improve instructional quality and student performance.

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Involving district-level leaders in T-TESS implementation ensures that T-TESS becomes a process for education innovation. Successful implementation hinges on collaboration within and among departments and a deepened commitment to growth-centered supervision of instruction and capacity building throughout the organization.

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Educator Preparation Programs

The Texas Education Agency has created 2 training programs for Educator Preparation Programs; the Field Supervisor Observation Training for Teacher Certification Candidates, and the Field Supervisor Coaching Training for Advanced Certification Candidates.

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