Academics and Instruction
Annual Professional Performance Review
(APPR): Frequently Asked Questions
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 intent of APPR is to assist educators to improve
the quality of instruction in schools and, in turn, to improve
students’ performance and readiness for colleges and careers.
District APPR plans must meet strict state guidelines and be
negotiated with local unions. Under state guidelines, APPR takes
into account classroom observations and student performance.
Teachers and principals across New York ultimately receive an
overall effectiveness rating every year.
Have teachers and principals always been evaluated?
Yes. Teachers and principals have always been evaluated and held
to specific standards. The APPR system was revamped in 2010, 2012
and, 2013 as a result of the federal Race to the Top education
reform initiative, and again in 2015 as part of the 2015-16 New
York State budget, which included an ambitious education reform
agenda. Under the APPR system, evaluation plans must adhere to
more stringent guidelines set by the state. A portion of the
evaluations is directly tied to student performance on state exams
or other state-approved learning measures. District plans must be
submitted to and approved by the NYS Education Department.
What is the goal of APPR?
The evaluation system was 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 that 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.”
Why is APPR changing again in the 2015-16 school year?
As part of the 2015-16 New York state budget, lawmakers approved
the Education Transformation Act of 2015, which includes Section
3012-d of Education Law and Subpart 30-3 of the Regulations of the
Commissioner of Education. Under the new legislation, school
districts and boards of cooperative educational services (BOCES)
are expected to submit new APPR plans for teachers and building
principals, and gain the NYS Education Department's approval for
such plans, by Nov. 15, 2015 in order to receive their scheduled
increases in state aid for the 2015-16 school year and future
school years until a new plan is in place. The newly redesigned
teacher evaluation system is one part of an ambitious education
reform agenda that addresses other key areas, such as teacher
preparation, certification and tenure.
What is the timeframe for implementation of new APPR plans?
School districts across the state are in various stages of
negotiating new APPR plans that meet the requirements set forth in
Education Law 3012-d. Districts and BOCES with hardships that
affect their ability to meet the Nov. 15, 2015 deadline for
implementing the new APPR plan during the 2015-16 school year are
required to submit hardship waiver applications to the NYS
Education Department in order to extend this deadline without risk
of losing their eligibility for a state aid increase.
All districts and BOCES granted hardship waivers must continue to
implement their previously approved APPR plans until a new plan is
agreed to by the district and local bargaining unit.
New APPR plans approved prior to March 1, 2016 will apply to the
2015-16 school year. New plans approved after March 1, 2016 will
apply to the 2016-17 school year.
How is the new evaluation system different? How are principals and
Just as they did under the previous APPR system, under the system
approved by the state in 2015 teachers and principals will earn
one of four final ratings: highly effective, effective, developing
or ineffective (HEDI). However, the new APPR framework does away
with the three-component system (20 percent for student growth, 20
percent for student achievement, and 60 percent for observations)
and replaces it with a system where student performance and
observation scores are each weighted and combined in a
state-designed matrix to determine a final overall ranking. Each
component has mandatory and optional subcomponents, some of which
will be locally negotiated in accordance with state guidelines.
Details can be found at engageny.org.
Are APPR scores available to the public?
No, schools are prohibited by law from releasing APPR scores to
the public. Under the 2015 state law, the following individual
teacher and principal data may be released to parents: student
performance score, teacher observation score and overall rating.
By law, scores can only be released to parents who specifically
request them and they can only be released for a student’s current
teacher(s) and principal. Parents who wish to request these scores
should contact their child’s school.
Is teacher/principal experience taken into account in each APPR
Guidance from the NYS Education Department has been that districts
are not expected to consider educator experience as part of the
Who evaluates teachers and principals?
Teachers and principals are observed by trained evaluators
selected by the district. All lead evaluators, independent
observers and peer observers must complete training.
What if a teacher/principal receives a rating of developing or
Any teacher/principal rated as developing or ineffective will
receive a negotiated Teacher Improvement Plan (TIP) or Principal
Improvement Plan (PIP). These plans identify areas in need of
improvement and include a timeline for achieving improvement, the
manner in which the improvement will be assessed and, where
appropriate, activities to support improvement in those areas. A
pattern of ineffective performance could lead to an expedited
hearing process for termination. Teachers/principals who receive a
rating of developing or ineffective may file an appeal.
If every district has a locally negotiated APPR plan, how do the
effectiveness ratings of teachers and principals in my district
compare to those in other districts?
Put simply, they don’t compare. While all districts must follow a
certain set of guidelines when developing APPR plans, and then
those plans must be approved by the State Education Department,
many of the standards within these plans vary by district. This
includes, but is not limited to, the observation rubrics districts
decide to use, the student growth measures and assessments used in
areas other than state standardized exams, and the way in which
points are assigned within the different components. Similarly,
districts routinely renegotiate their APPR plans with local
unions, so it may be difficult to compare effectiveness ratings
even within the same district from year to year.
Besides principals, are any other school administrators evaluated?
The state’s APPR law requires that building principals be
evaluated based on the state guidelines. Other administrators
within the district must be evaluated based on the district’s
procedures outlined in collective bargaining agreements. Under
state law, superintendents are required to be evaluated each year
by the district’s governing body (typically the Board of
How can I learn more about APPR in my school district?
www.libertyk12.org/academics or call Assistant Superintendent
Mrs. Carol Napolitano at (845) 292-5400 ext. 2063. to learn more about APPR in
Online, you’ll find a copy of the district’s state-approved APPR
plan and information on how to request the effectiveness rating(s)
for your children’s teacher(s) and/or principal(s).
For more information on the federal Race to the Top education
initiative and NYS Regents Reform agenda, please visit the
• Engage NY: www.engageny.org/
• Common Core Learning Standards:
• Common Core State Standards Initiative:
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