Department provides guidance on use of IEPs in educator effectiveness benchmarks

The Maine DOE is offering guidance about the use of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) in establishing educator effectiveness benchmarks as a result of recent rule changes initiated to ensure the state maintained flexibility from burdensome federal requirements.

One of the required changes to Rule Chapter 180: Performance Evaluation and Professional Growth (PEPG) Systems was language about the role of IEPs in the establishment of growth measures in an evaluation system. The newly adopted rule states that, “An individual education plan must not be used as a measure of student growth in the evaluation of an educator.” The intent of this language is to distinguish between a plan that is developed by many concerned parties to support an individual student in reaching certain benchmarks and a growth measure that is developed by educators to determine the effectiveness of a teacher’s instructional approach.

Because some parts of a child’s IEP are similar to the parts of a PEPG growth measure, the Department is reminding districts that although the IEP itself is not an appropriate growth measure to determine teacher effectiveness, a specific academic growth target within a child’s IEP, along with the assessment that will be used to determine the child’s progress, may be an appropriate growth measure in a PEPG system. As an illustration, it would not be acceptable in a PEPG system to establish a growth measure such as the following:

Unacceptable as a Growth Measure in a PEPG System

Student X will achieve 50 percent of the goals on his IEP by the end of the semester.

Students in resource room X will achieve 50 percent of the goals in their IEPs by the end of the semester.

Meanwhile, it would be acceptable to use the academic goals in a student’s IEP or a group of students’ IEPs to establish a growth measure as illustrated below:

Acceptable as a Growth Measure in a PEPG System

Student X will improve her math score on the NWEA by 10 points.

Students in resource room X will improve their reading skills by half the gap between baseline and grade level as measured by the Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement.

Note that the growth target in a PEPG system does not have to represent the end goal for the student or group of students, just as regular educator teachers make progress toward proficiency and not proficiency per se the growth target.

For more information or educator effectiveness related technical assistance, visit www.maine.gov/doe/effectiveness or contact Maine DOE Educator Effectiveness Coordinator Mary Paine at mary.paine@maine.gov or 624-6748.