Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) FAQs

  • What is APPR?

    APPR stands for Annual Professional Performance Review, and it is the process by which teachers and principals are evaluated in New York state. The purpose of APPR is to empower educators to improve the quality of instruction in schools and, in turn, to improve student performance and readiness for college and career. APPR plans must meet strict state guidelines and are negotiated with local unions.

    Under state guidelines, APPR takes into account classroom observations, student test scores, and a variety of achievement and assessment measures – many of which are decided at the local level. Teachers and principals across New York ultimately receive a number grade every year, which equates to an effectiveness rating.

    Have teachers and principals always been evaluated?

    Teachers and principals have always been evaluated and held to specific standards. The APPR system was revamped in both 2010 and 2012 as a result of the federal Race to the Top education reform initiative, and now evaluation plans must adhere to more rigid rules set by the state. Plans must also be submitted and approved by the NYS Education Department and, for the first time ever, a portion of the evaluations are directly tied to student performance on state exams or other state-approved learning measures.

    What is the goal of APPR?

    The current evaluation system is one pillar of the larger federal Race to the Top education reform initiative that aims to improve the quality of instruction in our schools and, in turn, improve student performance and college and career readiness. The APPR requirements aim to provide standardized, objective evaluation results, which can be used to better focus professional development for teachers and principals. According to the State Education Department, “The purpose of the evaluation system is to ensure that there is an effective teacher in every classroom and an effective leader in every school.”

    How are teachers and principals evaluated?

    The details of the evaluation process are determined locally by districts, but all K-12 teachers/principals in the state are evaluated in three areas: classroom/leadership observations and evidence, student growth and student achievement. Currently, teachers and principals receive a score in each evaluation area and a cumulative score, broken down as follows:

    Observations and Evidence: 60 possible points

    These are locally-selected measures of teacher/principal effectiveness. While districts must follow state guidance and use state-approved rubrics to assess teacher and principal performance, districts – through the collective bargaining process – select how points in this component are assigned, as well as the respective scoring bands. “Scoring band” simply means the range of points that equate to a particular level of effectiveness.

    Student Achievement: 20 possible points 

    These are locally-selected measures for student growth, such as building-wide learning targets. Like the 60-point component, districts select the process by which points are assigned in this area through collective bargaining with local unions. The scoring bands however, are determined by the state. This calculation may decrease to 15 percent upon implementation of a value-added growth model.

    Student Growth: 20 possible points

    This is either a state-provided growth score, derived from state assessment results, OR a score indicating progress made toward meeting student learning targets (aka Student Learning Objectives). As of August 2013, the state provides student growth scores for classroom teachers in grades 4-8 based on the state English language arts and math exams taken by students in these grades during the prior school year. Many principals also receive state-provided growth scores. This calculation may increase to 25 percent upon implementation of a value-added growth model.

    Other grades/subjects, teachers – including those whose courses end in Regents exams – must create Student Learning Objectives, or SLOs, for their students, while principals must set building-wide learning objectives. These learning objectives are academic goals that are set at the start of a course/school year following specific state guidelines. The process by which the SLOs are set, reviewed and assessed is determined at the local level. For teachers of Regents classes, the Regents exam results must be used within the SLO as evidence of student learning. Scoring bands for this component are set by the state.

    Total Score: 100 possible points

    Once these scores are compiled at the end of the school year, the cumulative score is converted into a final effectiveness rating: Highly Effective, Effective, Developing or Ineffective (HEDI).

    How are effectiveness ratings determined based on these scores?

    According to New York State Education Department (NYSED) guidelines, every K-12 teacher and principal in the state receives a HEDI rating (highly effective, effective, developing or ineffective), calculated based on a 100-point possible overall score. The conversion for these ratings is as follows. Note: Scoring bands – the range of points that equate to a particular level of effectiveness – may change slightly from year to year based on state requirements.