District Determined Measures (DDMs)

March 2017: Note that this appears to be a non-issue as noted in a recent State document which states that measures like this will now be embedded into the evaluation system. 

The DDM issue continues in Massachusetts. This issue will be impacted by the new ESSA legislation. In March 2017 DESE sent out a notice which updated regulations related to student impact rating. That update can be found via this link. On 12/2/2016, DESE sent out another notice about this issue. At present no language related to DDMs have been negotiated for WTA members.

At the end of the year educators were asked to report whether they had collected one year, two years, or no years of DDM data. They were not asked to report scores, but if they chose to, they could do so. There were no other imperatives.

Jay Chandler sent this note to the membership on June 8, 2016:

June 7, 2016



TO:       MTA Local K-12 Presidents

MTA Board of Directors

MTA Staff


FROM:             Barbara Madeloni, President

Janet Anderson, Vice President


SUBJECT:         Member Help Needed to Ditch DDMs



We need your help in making sure we can ditch DDMs!


Please send the message below to your members and ask them to contact their legislators today.




We can win this!


Thanks to member advocacy, persuasive lobbying by our side and a big push by local leaders and MTA staff, we scored a big win when the Senate recently approved a budget amendment saying that the DESE “shall not mandate any school district to include as part of an educator evaluation system or as a teacher performance standard the use of student performance data that is intended to measure an individual educator's impact on student learning, growth, or achievement.”


Please take a few moments to let your senator and representative know that it is time to eliminate this costly and unnecessary distraction from the time you spend with students. As the vote draws closer, we will be asking more of you.


District-Determined Measures are down, but they are not out. Since the House did not approve a similar measure, the legislative fate of DDMs rests with a joint House and Senate conference committee. These calls are important to convince legislative leaders to go with the Senate’s vote to kill the DDM mandate.


We need to counter the misinformation spread in an editorial in today’s Boston Globe that claims officials have “sophisticated ways of analyzing improvement in test scores” to create valid measures of educator quality. If so, why have they been keeping these “sophisticated ways” to themselves? It’s obvious: Because they don’t exist. Don’t hesitate: Make your calls today!





Please call your legislators today!


Dial 866.475.1200 and follow the prompts to be connected to your local legislators. If you’d like to reach both your senator and state representative (and we ask that you do), please call twice. 


Please also take to Twitter and use the hashtag #ditchddms


Talking points:


  • Please tell members of the conference committee to approve the Senate’s language eliminating DDMs.


  • District-Determined Measures (DDMs), mandated by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education but no longer required under federal law, are an unnecessary diversion of critical time and resources away from students. Both evaluators and those being evaluated agree that the DDM mandate does more harm than good.


  • Leading education researchers do not condone the practice of using student test scores to evaluate educators.


  • Deriving educator ratings from student test outcomes, as envisioned in DESE’s regulations and guidance, impedes effective teaching and learning.



Questions you might have:


Q: What are our chances?

A: In part, that depends on you and your fellow members. There are certainly no guarantees in the conference process. The more legislators hear from MTA members about this issue, the better our odds become.


Q: Why are we asking you to call?

A: We’re hearing from legislators, and they’re being inundated by e-mails from advocacy groups across the state — so many, in fact, that they’re having a hard time even counting them. As strange as it might sound, good old-fashioned phone calls still have the largest impact in terms of getting noticed. In the coming weeks, we’ll be asking you to e-mail on this issue as well. But we’re really looking to stand out from the pack.  


Q: When do we suggest you do this?

A: As soon as possible. While the conference committee has until the end of June, it could come up with an agreement at any time. We need to make sure your voice is part of the decision.


Q: Should I call, e-mail or take to social media?

A: All of the above. The more contacts we make, the better our odds of victory will be.