Evaluation FAQs and Appeals
- Performance appraisals for teachers are a matter of state regulation. This state regulation governs all school districts in South Carolina. The district must use an evaluation procedure that is approved by the SCDE.
- The formal evaluation process starts at the beginning of the year. It can’t be started at other times during the year and it can’t be implemented at all if the teacher was not properly notified.
- Teachers who will be formally evaluated for the upcoming year must be notified in writing before they sign their contract.
- Any form or variation of GBE (SLO) is an INFORMAL evaluation.
- Some teachers are told they are being evaluated because it is their re-certification year. This causes teachers to assume that if they don’t pass, their certificate will not be renewed. THIS IS NOT TRUE! There is NO relationship between evaluation and certification unless you are an Annual Contract teacher and you fail two years in a row.
- Prior to the start of an evaluation, the teacher is required to attend an orientation meeting to hear how the evaluation procedure works. It takes more than good teaching to pass an evaluation. The teacher must be able to move through the evaluation process and satisfy the requirements of the process and the Team.
- Some teachers refuse to sign evaluation documents when they disagree with them. Signing the evaluation simply means the teacher received the document from the evaluation team. The signature does not mean that the document is correct, fair, or reasonable. Most evaluation documents make this clear with a statement to this effect on the form near the signature area. However, if a teacher is asked to sign a form that does not include this disclaimer, it is ok to add it when signing the form. Resist writing anything more than a simple statement like: “I am signing this document as requested, to acknowledge receipt. I do not agree with its content.”
- A teacher who refuses to sign the evaluation has not accomplished much, other than taking a stand. As stated above, the signature is only a receipt of the document and the administrator or evaluator will likely have a witness or other proof that the document was received by the teacher. Refusing to sign the evaluation does not negate it.
If the teacher files an appeal, she is appealing the district's decision to not offer a contract, not the evaluation itself. However, if the district says their decision was based on a failed evaluation, then the evaluation becomes the focus of the hearing and everything the evaluators did will be closely examined. Whatever the weaknesses or flaws in the team or the process, the teacher must be able to convince the Board that she would have passed the evaluation, had those situations not occurred.
If a teacher is successful in over-tuning the evaluation and getting a contract, she is typically required to repeat the evaluation process the upcoming year.
Annual contract teachers do not have formal appeal rights but they do have the right to request a face to face meeting with the superintendent to make an appeal.
Induction teachers do not have appeal rights other than asking the district for a paper review of what took place.
When the teacher's contract is not in jeopardy but she wants to file an appeal to clear her good name, she should not hesitate to do so, even if the district tells her she cannot appeal. There is no law that prohibits a teacher from filing an appeal. Even if the district has said that teachers cannot grieve their evaluation, a teacher who believes the evaluation has been mishandled can do so anyway, if for no other reason than to get it on the record.
Members should contact The SCEA for assistance in taking these actions.
- the right to ask questions.
- the right to hear and see the evidence that supports the rating/score you received.
- the right to expect the Team to follow the rules.
- the right to ask the administration for an ongoing assessment of how your year is going - regardless of the evaluation process. If your principal will not respond to that question because he is on the evaluation team and thinks he can’t, then ask another administrator. It may prove advantageous if the administrator you asked did not express any performance concerns.
- a right to ask for a change in your evaluation team if you have reason to believe any one of them will not be fair. The district is not required to change your team but it is important to make the request and have their denial on the record. This request should be made as soon as you know who your evaluators will be and before the evaluation process begins – usually in August. You would make this request only if you have a reason to believe that any one of them will mishandle the evaluation.
The deadline to appeal contract non-renewal (continuing contract teachers) is 15 calendar days from the date of the written notice to the teacher.
The deadline to appeal the evaluation for the purposes of persuading the district to adjust the record (contract non-renewal not an issue), is dictated by the deadline stated in either the grievance or appeal procedure the district established for evaluations. The deadline in most districts is 10 working days.
Beginning in 2018—19, South Carolina will transition to a new teacher evaluation system, South Carolina Teaching Standards (SCTS) 4.0. The new evaluation system is holistic and provides frequent, robust and objective feedback to teachers through multiple indicators of success. Depending on the district, some educators are being evaluated under the SAFE—T model, an SCDE approved alternative instrument or the SCTS 4.0 rubric. This variation allows districts time to plan and prepare for full implementation of the SCTS 4.0 evaluation system by the start of the 2018—19 school year.
For educators being evaluated by the new SCTS 4.0 rubric, please visit the Educator Effectiveness web page and explore resources that include a matrix that aligns ADEPT Performance Standards with the new teaching standards, a copy of the new SCTS 4.0 rubric, and the ADEPT System Guidelines for 2018—19 that provide further detail on the new evaluation system. These resources will assist teachers, schools, and districts as they plan for full implementation at the start of the 2018—19 school year.
OEELD would like to note that while these resources reflect state guidance, districts continue to have choices and latitude to make decisions regarding local use and implementation within the state.
How The SCEA Helps:
The SCEA provides help in preparing the appeal, filing the appeal, and will attend the appeal meetings, if permitted.
- S.C. Code Ann. §§ 59-26-30 (2004 and Supp. 2013) and 59-26-40 (Supp. 2013): Training, Certification, and Evaluation of Public Educators
- State Board of Education Regulation 43-205.1 (Supp. 2011): Assisting, Developing, and Evaluating Professional Teaching (ADEPT)
- S.C. Code Ann. §§ 59-24-5 through 59-24-80 (2004 and Supp. 2013): School Administrators
- State Board of Education Regulation 43-165.1 (2011): Program for Assisting, Developing, and Evaluating Principal Performance (PADEPP)
- S.C. Code Ann. §§ 59-25-430: Dismissal of teachers; grounds; opportunity for hearing; suspension pending resolution of charges.