Teacher Evaluation: Questions Related to Differentiated Supervision

Updated: Jan. 31, 2013

Note: This information addresses PSEA member questions regarding the new system for teacher evaluation in Pennsylvania. The system continues to evolve;  this information reflects the most recent details available to PSEA. PSEA will continue to update this resource as information changes, and when new information becomes available. Please email additional questions to cclaycomb@psea.org.

Q: Can you further explain differentiated supervision? 
A: Differentiated supervision models provide different levels of supervisory support for staff with different levels of experience and expertise in their area of assignment. This allows new educators or educators struggling with their practice, to be observed more frequently and provided more support than educators who are experienced and proficient. For experienced and proficient educators, differentiated supervision allows educators to undergo formal observation every two to four years and engage in supervised professional growth activities during other years.   

PDE’s DRAFT Guidelines for Differentiated Supervision were released at the PDE SAS Institute in December 2012 and are posted on PSEA’s website: www.psea.org/evaluation.  In general, a differentiated supervision model would allow experienced, proficient educators to be evaluated on a cyclical timeline so that all staff will be evaluated through the Formal Observation Mode once within a 3 or 4 year cycle. During the years that an educator is not engaged in Formal Observation, educators may be involved in activities such as peer coaching, action research, portfolio development.

Q: Do all 100 percent of staff need to be evaluated using this Teacher Effectiveness next year if you are using Differentiated Supervision?
A: PDE plans to ask districts to submit plans for differentiated supervision for approval. In practice, it is unlikely that many districts will have an approved differentiated supervision plan in place for 2013-14, but upon approval the system would not require all staff to be evaluated with the classroom observation rubric each year.

Q: Can the differentiated supervision rotation be a four year rotation and not a three year rotation?
A: PDE’s current draft Guidelines allow for a three- or four-year rotation in a differentiated supervision model.

Q: What will the "off years" of differentiated supervision look like? Is it something designed by PDE or is it designed locally by the district? 
A: PDE’s DRAFT Guidelines for Differentiated Supervision were presented at PDE’s SAS Institute in December 2012 and are posted on PSEA’s website: www.psea.org/evaluation. This document explains what PDE envisions for differentiated supervision in the Commonwealth.

Q: You mentioned differentiated supervision which is currently in draft form. Is this something that might involve teachers observing and evaluating other teachers?
A: PDE’s draft guidelines for differentiated supervision include peer coaching but do not include peer review. The law pertaining to evaluation continues to require properly certificated administrative personnel to complete the observation for professional and temporary professional employees.

Q: Will the new system replace any differentiated supervision system we currently have in place?
A: It depends. Differentiated supervision plans will need to meet criteria established by PDE. PDE’s proposed Guidelines for Differentiated Supervision were released at PDE’s SAS Institute in December 2012 and are posted on PSEA’s website: www.psea.org/evaluation.



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