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Teacher Guidelines

The Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS) supports teachers and as part of the continuous improvement process, teachers consistently hold themselves to a high standard for individual development and performance. They identify methods to collaborate with other educational professionals within and beyond the school to engage in purposeful and targeted professional learning opportunities, seek feedback, and refine their practices and skills. Including the teacher in a systematic way allows him or her to take an active role in his or her professional growth and development.

Evaluation Process

The Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS) observation cycle includes a pre-conference, observation and post-conference, as the recommended cycle for supporting teachers. During the observation, appraisers capture detailed, strategically-scripted evidence and use this evidence in conjunction with the T-TESS dimensions and descriptors of the rubric to determine performance levels. Each aspect of the observation cycle is included in this section.

Campus leaders conduct orientation session(s) for teachers who are new to T-TESS to familiarize them with the T-TESS process, its components, key staff roles and responsibilities, information and resources available during implementation, where to seek assistance, and how to develop and implement goals and professional development plans. The orientation serves as an initial overview that is supported with ongoing learning opportunities, thereafter.

For a brief overview of the entire evaluation process, check out this year at a glance timeline.

Appraisal Process Timeline

Aligned with the notion of continuous improvement, the goal-setting and professional development processes are interwoven throughout the year to positively impact performance. Teachers authentically engage in reflection about current professional practices using teacher and student data, identify professional growth goals, establish and implement a professional development plan to attain those goals, and track progress toward the goals over the course of the year.


The overall purpose of the pre-conference is for the appraiser and teacher to mutually discuss the upcoming lesson observation with a focus on the interrelationships between planning, instruction, the learning environment and student outcomes.

As tied to the Texas Teacher Standards for Professional Practice, the T-TESS multi-dimensional observation tool is used in conjunction with collected evidence to evaluate and inform each teacher’s performance and professional needs as an ongoing system of continuous improvement to ultimately impact student performance.

Ideally, multiple formal and informal observations are used throughout the year to provide teachers with actionable, timely feedback, allowing teachers to make efficient and contextual professional development choices that lead to refinement in their practices.

The overall purpose of the post-conference is to provide teachers opportunities to self-reflect on the execution of their lessons with guidance and support from the administrators or teacher leaders who conducted the evaluation, including the impact on student performance. Results are used to inform and guide the teacher’s future practices and growth.

The End-of-Year (EOY) Conference provides an opportunity for the appraiser and the teacher to summarize the observations for Domains 1-3, formalize the evidence and score for Domain 4, and to discuss next year’s goal(s) and professional development plan.

Rubric Training

Deepen your understanding of the T-TESS rubric with this series of module videos that explore the finer points of each dimension of the rubric.

Planning (Domain 1)
  • Standards and Alignment (Dimension 1.1) The teacher designs clear, well-organized, sequential lessons that reflect best practice, align with the standards and are appropriate for diverse learners.
  • Data and Assessment (Dimension 1.2) The teacher uses formal and informal methods to measure student progress, then manages and analyzes student data to inform instruction.
  • Knowledge of Students (Dimension 1.3) Through knowledge of students and proven practices, the teacher ensures high levels of learning, social-emotional development and achievement for all students.
  • Activities (Dimension 1.4) The teacher plans engaging, flexible lessons that encourage higher –order thinking, persistence and achievement.

Training Modules:
Instruction (Domain 2)
  • Achieving Expectations (Dimension 2.1) The teacher supports all learners in their pursuit of high levels of academic and social-emotional success.
  • Content Knowledge and Expertise (Dimension 2.2) The teacher uses content and pedagogical expertise to design and execute lessons aligned with state standards, related content and student needs.
  • Communication (Dimension 2.3) The teacher clearly and accurately communicates to support persistence, deeper learning and effective effort.
  • Differentiation (Dimension 2.4) The teacher differentiates instruction, aligning methods and techniques to diverse student needs.
  • Monitor and Adjust (Dimension 2.5) The teacher formally and informally collects, analyzes and uses student progress data and makes necessary lesson adjustments.

Training Modules:
Learning Environment (Domain 3)
  • Classroom Environment, Routines and Procedures (Dimension 3.1) The teacher organizes a safe, accessible and efficient classroom.
  • Managing Student Behavior (Dimension 3.2) The teacher establishes, communicates and maintains clear expectations for student behavior.
  • Classroom Culture (Dimension 3.3) The teacher leads a mutually respectful and collaborative class of actively engaged learners.

Training Modules:
Professional Practices and Responsibilities (Domain 4)
  • Professional Demeanor and Ethics (Dimension 4.1) The teacher meets district expectations for attendance, professional appearance, decorum, procedural, ethical, legal and statutory responsibilities.
  • Goal Setting (Dimension 4.2) The teacher reflects on his/her practice.
  • Professional Development (Dimension 4.3) The teacher enhances the professional community.
  • School Community Involvement (Dimension 4.4) The teacher demonstrates leadership with students, colleagues, and community members in the school, district and community through effective communication and outreach.

Training Modules:

Calibration Resources

Advance your instruction and gain additional insight into the T-TESS appraisal process with a calibration training module, ESC provided trainings, and a collection of classroom lesson examples- at various grade levels- along with T-TESS rater scores to promote better calibration.

Calibration Training Module

T-TESS Appraiser Calibration Training by ESCs

The T-TESS Appraiser Calibration Training is designed to provide participants with a deeper dive into the calibration process, allowing users to engage in multiple calibration opportunities using the T-TESS rubric and two different protocols.

NOTE: This training is only offered by Regional Education Service Centers (ESCs.) Please contact your local ESC directly for dates and times.

Implementation Guidebook

Calibration Video Lessons

These lessons are designed to be used for appraiser calibrations and professional development to highlight and improve performance on each of the T-TESS domains/dimensions at both the teacher and appraiser levels.

Check out these Elementary, Middle School, and High School video lessons below to calibrate your rating ability. Be sure to download the evidence rating sheets.

Elementary Lessons

Kindergarten Math (Identifying 2D Shapes)

Evidence Rating Sheet


2nd Grade ELA (Spelling)

Evidence Rating Sheet


3rd Grade Math Intervention

Evidence Rating Sheet


4th Grade ELA (Character Traits)

Evidence Rating Sheet


4th Grade Math (Number Patterns)

Evidence Rating Sheet


4th Grade Reading (Pirate Story)

Evidence Rating Sheet


5th Grade Science

Evidence Rating Sheet


1st Grade Dual Language

Evidence Rating Sheet


2nd Grade ELA (Making Predictions)

Evidence Rating Sheet


3rd Grade Reading Intervention

Evidence Rating Sheet


4th Grade ELA (Spelling Patterns)

Evidence Rating Sheet


4th Grade Math (Fractions and Decimals)

Evidence Rating Sheet


5th Grade Math (Murder Mystery Math)

Evidence Rating Sheet


Middle School Lessons

6th Grade Math

Evidence Rating Sheet


Middle School Science (Homeostasis)

Evidence Rating Sheet


Middle School (Mariachi Lesson)

Evidence Rating Sheet


7th Grade (Avid Lesson)

Evidence Rating Sheet


7th Grade Math (Pi and Circles)

Evidence Rating Sheet


8th Grade Math (Scatter Plots)

Evidence Rating Sheet


High School Lessons

High School AP Chemistry

Evidence Rating Sheet


High School Literature (Age of Romanticism)

Evidence Rating Sheet


High School EMT

Evidence Rating Sheet


High School Science

Evidence Rating Sheet


Additional Resources

Explore these resources to assist with teacher implementation of T-TESS. A complete list of available resources is provided on the Resources tab.

Documents to Download:

Additional Videos

Here is a video that discusses how T-TESS can be used with teachers in specialized settings.

T-TESS in Specialized Settings