Teacher and Principal Practice Rubric Variance Process

Rubric Variance Application

To implement the provisions of Education Law §3012-d relating to annual professional performance reviews of classroom teachers and building principals, the New York State Education Department (“NYSED” or “Department”), strongly encourages local educational agencies (LEAs) to select teacher and principal practice rubrics from the Department’s List of Approved Teacher and Principal Practice Rubrics ("Approved List"). In limited circumstances, however, LEAs may apply for a variance to use a teacher and/or principal practice rubric other than those that are currently on the Approved List.

The intent and purpose of this application process is to provide LEAs with the option to request a variance to use: (1) an existing rubric that is self-developed, developed by a third party, or an adaptation of a rubric on the Department’s Approved List; or (2) a new, innovative rubric that will support their professional capacity to successfully implement teacher and principal evaluations. If an LEA’s variance application is approved, the LEA may use the practice rubric to implement teacher and principal evaluations in accordance with Education Law §3012-d.

The rubric variance application is available here.

Submissions will be reviewed on a continuous and ongoing basis, and districts will receive notification of receipt. We anticipate rendering a determination no later than 8 weeks after receipt of a variance request.

Any questions concerning this variance application must be emailed to Rubricvar@nysed.gov.

Questions and responses will be posted on a continuous and ongoing basis on the Questions and Answers page.  No individual written responses will be provided.

Existing Rubric

If applying to use an existing rubric (a rubric that is already in use by the LEA) that is self-developed, developed by a third party, or an adaptation of a rubric on the Department’s Approved List, applicants will need to meet all the approval criteria outlined in §30-3.9 of the Rules of the Board of Regents and the variance application. In addition, applicants will need to demonstrate:

  • evidence that the LEA has made a significant investment in the rubric, particularly in training and implementation; and
  • evidence that the LEA has a history of use that would justify continued use of that rubric. This includes evidence that:
    • the LEA’s use of the rubric to date has generated differentiated ratings and assessments of educators’ skill and proficiency; and
    • the degree of differentiation in the ratings is justified by student achievement results.

In general, the Department discourages LEAs from making any adaptations to other providers’ rubrics. Any change by an LEA to the content of a rubric on the Department’s Approved List (including deletions, additions, or other edits) constitutes an adaptation for which a variance would be required.

An LEA is NOT required to request a variance for procedural differences in implementation of a rubric on the Department’s Approved List. Procedural differences include but are not limited to:

  • providing additional or more detailed guidance on how to implement the rubric that is not available from the original rubric provider; or
  • maintaining all components of the rubric but choosing to emphasize certain components of the rubric over others.

The use of an existing rubric will be approved for a period of three years, at which time an LEA will have to request a renewal if they wish to continue to use the rubric. Details for the renewal process will be provided to a LEA prior to the expiration of its approved rubric variance.

New, Innovative Rubric

If applying to use a new and innovative rubric that is newly developed, applicants must establish that the proposed rubric meets ALL of the approval criteria outlined in §30-3.9 of the Rules of the Board of Regents and the variance application. In addition, applicants will need to provide:

  • a training and implementation plan including, but not limited to, the LEA’s plan for ensuring inter-rater reliability; and
  • a plan for collecting evidence that demonstrates:
    • the LEA’s use of the rubric generates differentiated ratings and assessments of educator skill and proficiency; and
    • the degree of differentiation in the ratings is justified by student achievement results.

The use of a new, innovative rubric will be provisionally approved for a two-year period, after which time an LEA will have to request a renewal if they wish to continue to use the rubric.  The LEA must provide the following information in order for the Department to consider renewal:

  • evidence that the LEA’s use of the rubric has supported its professional capacity to successfully implement teacher and principal evaluations (i.e., that the training and use of the new, innovative rubric has allowed the LEA to more efficiently or effectively evaluate teachers or principals than in the past); AND
  • evidence that the LEA’s use of the rubric has generated differentiated ratings and assessments of educator skill and proficiency, using rating categories that are aligned (or easily convertible) to NYSED’s four rating categories; AND
  • an analysis demonstrating that the degree of differentiation in the ratings is justified by student achievement results.

Additional renewal requirements will be provided to a LEA prior to the expiration of its approved rubric variance.

Last Updated: November 20, 2015