AUSTIN (KXAN) — “What is a good teacher?”

That was first question Stephanie Stoebe said she and other educators asked when sitting down at the table to help create a new grading system for Texas teachers.

She teaches fifth grade in Round Rock ISD and is a member of the Association of Texas Professional Educators.

The group that represents more than 100,000 Texas teachers is focusing in on what’s called the student growth component to the new teacher evaluation system set to be implemented in July 2016.

It makes up 20 percent of a teacher’s overall grade. “Basically, you’re looking at a student when they enter your classroom. Where are they at? And you take a look at the student when he leaves your classroom. Where are they at?” said Stoebe.

The new state system, still under review, lays out four different options for districts to measure student growth:

  • State test scores
  • Student learning objectives
  • Portfolios
  • A test the district chooses

Stoebe hopes school districts do not default to state test scores. “I’m scared that the teacher of a child who is learning English as a second language, or a child who receives special education services, is going to be diminished because they did not meet growth.”

Texas school districts have the option to create their own teacher evaluation system, and does not need approval from the Texas Education Agency.

The Austin Independent School District has been testing out their own formula on a handful of campuses.

In AISD, student growth makes up 25 percent of a teacher’s grade. Of that percentage, 15 percent is based on student learning objectives, and the other 10 percent is how their entire campus did on state tests as a whole. “We love this system, and we’re hearing a lot of great feedback,” said Kimiko Krekel, AISD’s Executive Director for Educator Quality.

The district also has an administrator observe teachers once in the fall and a different administrator observe them in the spring. The state only requires one.

“They get two different points of view, and at least two classroom visits a year,” said Krekel.

The state just wrapped up a month long public input process, and will now respond to feedback and have the option to make changes.