The Network for Educator Effectiveness teacher evaluation system includes 39 indicators of effective teaching practice. 27 of those indicators are measurable in classroom observations and cover the most common indicators of effective teaching practice used in teacher evaluation. But sometimes school districts find they need additional customization to get more specific in their teacher evaluation processes. 

This school year, NEE added a new feature to the NEE Data Tool online evaluation system: the ability to create one customized indicator within your school district.  

In the past, some districts have added custom look-fors within the existing NEE classroom observation rubrics to achieve the level of customization they require. However, the new district-specific indicator will allow school districts greater flexibility by giving them the ability to create a full rubric for a new indicator and measure it within the NEE Data Tool. 

The district-specific indicator should be used in cases where there is not a current NEE indicator that meets the school’s evaluation needs.  

Applications of the district-specific indicator could include the following: 

  • Faith-based schools could use the district-specific indicator to measure their faith-based teaching practices. 
  • Districts could use the district-specific indicator to measure behaviors in special settings, such as the career-tech center or early childhood classrooms. 
  • Districts could use the district-specific indicator to measure a priority initiative that falls outside the realm of the other available NEE indicators.  

The ability to create a district-specific indicator is reserved for users with district-level access in the NEE Data Tool. Districts can create only one custom indicator per school year, so district leaders should consider the best use of the indicator for the entire district given their local needs. The indicator, which will be assigned the number 10.1 in the NEE Data Tool, will then be available for all evaluators within that district to use on classroom observations. 

Let’s walk through the process of creating a district-specific indicator within the NEE system. 

Conversations and Collaboration to Build Understanding 

Before you begin to create a custom indicator, review the following questions: 

  • Is there an existing NEE indicator that is a close fit for what your school is trying to measure? If so, you might work within that rubric to add more specific scoring descriptions and/or look-fors for your district instead of starting from scratch. 
  • If there is no close fit among the NEE indicators, can you clearly communicate why a custom indicator is needed? The next steps require a deep understanding of “the why” and a commitment to collaboratively creating the new indicator. 

Next, you will define the teaching strategy or behavior to be measured, the scoring descriptions, and the look-fors. Hold conversations within the school community – among school leaders and teachers – to define the new indicator and the expectations for what teaching looks like at various levels on the rubric.  

Be prepared to define the scoring rubric for the anchor scores of 0, 1 ,3, 5, and 7. What is the evidence school leaders will see during a classroom observation, and what are the specific look-fors for each of those levels? 

NEE’s existing rubrics guide school leaders to consider objective evidence, such as the number of students involved or the percentage of time spent on a certain teaching strategy, during a classroom observation. Consider adding similar language when defining the anchor scores for your new rubric. 

If a rubric is created from scratch, this process will take some time to work through, so give your team plenty of time to collaborate on the specifics in order to build understanding of the new rubric and the expectations it lays out.  

How to Add a District-Specific Indicator in the NEE Data Tool 

screen shot of creating the district-specific indicator in the NEE Data Tool

When you have defined the indicator, scoring descriptions, and look-fors, you are ready to add the indicator to the NEE Data Tool. Follow these steps: 

  1. After logging in to the NEE Data Tool, district-level users will click on My Teachers on the left-hand menu. On the My Teachers menu, under the Scoring section, click Create/Edit District-Specific Classroom Observation Indicators
  1. Required: Name the indicator in the Indicator 10.1 box at the top of the form. 
  1. Optional: Enter any important notes for evaluators to see when scoring the indicator.  
  1. Required: Define the scoring rubric by completing the scoring descriptions for scores of 0, 1, 3, 5, and 7. 
  1. Optional: Fill in the Define “What to Look For” Help Texts box. 
  1. Optional: Enter help texts for evaluators in the Define Footnote Help Texts box. These are typically examples of what the evaluator will see for that indicator while completing a classroom observation. 
  1. When all boxes are complete, click Save
  1. Indicator 10.1 will now appear as an option for all evaluators when they perform classroom observations in your district. They can access it by clicking Add Indicator at the top of the Classroom Observation Report, or it can be added to a Classroom Observation Template. Find out more about Classroom Observation features in our blog: Four NEE Data Tool Features to Help you Get the Most Out of Your Evaluation data.  

To edit Indicator 10.1, follow the same steps as above. To delete the indicator, follow Step 1 above, then scroll to the bottom of the page and click Delete and click Delete again. 

As you work through this process, please contact NEE if we can provide any assistance or support. Our team is always happy to discuss any questions you have. 

The Network for Educator Effectiveness (NEE) is a simple yet powerful comprehensive system for educator evaluation that helps educators grow, students learn, and schools improve. Developed by preK-12 practitioners and experts at the University of Missouri, NEE brings together classroom observation, student feedback, teacher curriculum planning, and professional development as measures of effectiveness in a secure online portal designed to promote educator growth and development.