University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

TESS Survey

In The View from the OEP on October 2, 2013 at 10:02 am

We would like to commend the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) on conducting a survey on the Teacher Excellence and Support System (TESS). Read the Commissioner’s Memo here to learn about the survey that has been distributed to all school-level personnel this year.


In 2011, TESS became the state’s first uniform teacher evaluation system, when the Arkansas General Assembly passed Act 1209. Prior to TESS, every school district in Arkansas was required to evaluate teachers and administrators; however, districts had more autonomy over the structure and format of the evaluation. Due to increased national attention on teacher evaluation systems,  Arkansas’ legislature and many other legislatures across the nation passed laws mandating statewide teacher evaluation systems. Similar to other states’ systems, TESS evaluates teachers based on classroom observations, artifacts that provide evidence of student achievement, and external assessment measures of student achievement and growth. Furthermore, TESS connects professional development to evaluations. 

Last school year (2012-13), eleven schools piloted the evaluation system. During this school year, all public schools (traditional and charter) are piloting TESS. Administrators and teachers have received training on TESS in order to facilitate this year’s pilot implementation.

When any new system is put into place, it is important to monitor the implementation of the system in order to make informed adjustments and decisions in the future. Therefore, we applaud the ADE for conducting a survey to receive feedback from educators. The survey gauges teachers’ understanding of TESS and teachers’ experiences with implementation of the system. Furthermore, the survey asks about training for TESS and the readiness of teachers to use the system. The ADE states that the survey will be used to identify needs for future resources and support.

We at the OEP believe that the analysis of this survey on TESS could play a crucial role in the future and success of TESS. We look forward to learning about the work of the ADE and educators across the state. 

Educators:  Click here to take the survey before it closes on October 7. (All surveys are anonymous.)

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