HISD finalizes components of the T-TESS design

HISD is releasing more information on the design of T-TESS in preparation for the initial roll out for School Year 2022-2023. The decisions outlined below aim to place teacher growth at the center of the evaluation process, and they have been made in close collaboration with teachers, principals, and staff across Houston, with insight from an HISD staff survey, three focus groups, and numerous design committees. 

Overview of Key Changes to the Evaluation System

  • Observations: T-TESS will increase the length of formal observations to 45 minutes and allow more opportunities to provide feedback to teachers. Appraisers will continue to have the option of conducting unlimited informal observations under T-TESS. 
  • Formal walkthroughs: The process will remain largely unchanged. 
  • Feedback: The best practice will be to provide feedback within seven working days of formal observations and walkthroughs with the requirement of providing it within 10 working days.
  • Modified system (M-TADS): To ensure effective data validation in the first two years, all HISD teachers will receive the same number of formal observations and walkthroughs. 
    • A modified observation system (similar to M-TADS) may be available to highly effective teachers starting in School Year 2024-2025.
  • Performance levels: The number of performance levels will increase from four under TADS to five under T-TESS to give teachers a more precise view of their current performance. 
  • Eligible appraisers: The list will remain largely unchanged. 
  • Video recording: Teachers and appraisers will be able to jointly agree to video-recording observations. More details are forthcoming.

T-TESS Training and Implementation Timeline

T-TESS training remains a top priority leading up to full implementation in September. All HISD appraisers are in the process of completing three days of virtual T-TESS training, led by Region IV. Over the summer, appraisers will complete T-TESS re-certification tests virtually in preparation for their first calibration training in the beginning of August.

In early May, HISD principals attended “train-the-trainer” sessions, where they received resources to lead teachers in introductory T-TESS sessions before the end of the school year. Teachers will begin full T-TESS training during their pre-service days in August. 

T-TESS Ambassadors

T-TESS ambassadors are being selected on every campus and will help lead the transition to our new evaluation system at the campus level starting next school year. T-TESS ambassadors will be announced by the end of the school year.