December 18, 2015 Emergency Regents Rules Regarding Teacher and Principal APPR Transition Ratings
KEEPING YOU INFORMED…
On December 10, 2015, the New York Common Core Task Force formed by Governor Cuomo issued its report, which included, among other things, the recommendation to thoroughly review Common Core standards and implement new higher learning standards. It further recommended that, until new standards are implemented, the results from the grades 3-8 English language arts and mathematics State assessments and the use of any State-provided growth models based upon any State assessments not have any consequence for individual teachers and students. At its December 15, 2015 meeting, the Board of Regents adopted two emergency rules (Sections 30-2.14 and 30-3.17) implementing this recommendation regarding State assessments in the context of annual professional performance reviews (APPRs) of classroom teachers and building principals.
The emergency Rules, which took effect December 15, 2015, address how transition scores and ratings are to be formulated while the State transitions to new State assessments aligned to higher learning standards and a revised State-provided growth model. These transition scores and ratings are not to be based on the State assessments or State-provided growth models based on those assessments. The emergency Rules will be presented for permanent adoption at a future Board of Regents meeting and, if adopted, will likely become effective on March 9, 2016.
This Rule governs Education Law Section 3012-c APPR scores and ratings for the 2015-2016 school year. The Rule requires the Commissioner of Education to establish procedures in guidance for APPR transition scores and ratings. During the transition period, the State-provided growth scores will be calculated for advisory purposes only, with teachers and principals continuing to receive an overall score and rating calculated in the same manner as is done now.
An individual teacher or principal will receive an overall composite transition score and rating based on the remaining APPR subcomponents’ scores and ratings, excluding any that are based upon the State assessments or State-provided growth scores on Regents examinations. Additionally, the overall composite transition score will include any back-up Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) that were developed by the school district or BOCES as an alternative to the State-provided growth score on State assessments. The back-up SLOs cannot be used, however, if they are based on the State assessments.
This Rule governs Education Law Section 3012-d APPR scores and ratings for the 2015-2016 through 2018-2019 school years while the State transitions to new higher learning standards. This Rule requires the Commissioner to establish procedures in guidance for APPR transition scores and ratings. Likewise, during the transition period, the State-provided growth scores will be calculated for advisory purposes, with teachers and principals continuing to receive an overall score and rating calculated in the same manner as is done now. This Rule further allows the Commissioner to “authorize the use of one or more State-provided growth model(s) that take into consideration multiple years of student growth on State assessments” to calculate scores, for advisory purposes only, in the student performance categories.
During the transition period, transition scores and ratings on the student performance categories and those ratings incorporating the student performance category rating must be based on:
1. Student performance scores and ratings that are not based on State assessments or a State-provided growth score on Regents assessments; or
2. If no student performance scores and ratings can be generated, the school district or BOCES must develop a back-up SLO consistent with the Commissioner’s guidelines and using assessments, other than State assessments, approved by the NYSED.
Sections 30-2.14 and 30-3.17
For both Rules, school districts and BOCES must use the transition composite scores and ratings for all purposes of Sections Education Law Sections 3012-c and 3012-b (discipline), tenure determinations, and employment decisions and proceedings conducted pursuant to Sections 3020-a and 3020-b. Teacher or principal improvement plans must also be based on the transition composite score and rating.
If the school district or BOCES discloses the original composite score and rating pursuant to Section 3012-c (i.e., for public reporting or parent requests), the disclosure must include the transition composite score and rating and an explanation of the transition composite score and rating.
We recommend that you do not take any action based on this latest news from Albany and that you wait for the guidance to be issued. Once the guidance is available, we can compare it with the federal and State laws and regulations, your current and/or proposed APPR plan(s), as well as your collective bargaining agreements to make a determination of what, if any, changes can, should and must be implemented. Please contact us if you have questions as we await the guidance.
THIS MEMORANDUM IS MEANT TO ASSIST IN GENERAL UNDERSTANDING OF THE CURRENT LAW. IT IS NOT TO BE REGARDED AS LEGAL ADVICE. THOSE WITH PARTICULAR QUESTIONS SHOULD SEEK THE ADVICE OF COUNSEL.
© Lamb & Barnosky, LLP 2015
 Although not set forth in the new Rules, the Task Force recommended a four year transition period.