Navigating the T-TESS, Part 1

Many Texas teachers returning for the new school year are finding that their district is using a new appraisal system, the T-TESS (Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System). Teachers who will be appraised under the T-TESS should receive a local orientation into the process.

Two ATPE state office staff members recently observed the training that T-TESS appraisers received. ATPE will be providing information about the T-TESS, focusing on practical tips, based on what we have learned. Here are two tips to help you get this school year started right:

  • Start the year off by working with your students to create standards and expectations for class behavior. The T-TESS is all about student engagement in the learning process, and that includes the classroom environment. After you and your class have determined your expectations, create a poster or document that you can refer to in class so the appraiser can see that you’ve worked with the students on classroom management. Of course, be sure that your class rules are consistent with the student code of conduct and any other campus or district policy and check with your administrator if you think something might be controversial. And be sure and describe the student involvement to your appraiser in your goal-setting conference, preconference (if you have one), or some other appropriate time.
  • Use your goal-setting conference or preconference to discuss with your appraiser what they’ll be looking for in terms of student involvement. The T-TESS training and scoring rubric emphasizes student involvement in the learning process but provides little practical guidance. You may have received more specific instructions during your T-TESS orientation on how to incorporate students into your planning and classroom. But obviously expectations will differ depending on your appraiser and subject matter.

For more T-TESS tips, see our T-TESS Resource Page as well as Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 of our Navigating the T-TESS series. .

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