More About Assisting, Developing and Evaluating Professional Teaching

  • ADEPT Evaluation System

    ADEPT is South Carolina's system for assisting, developing, and evaluating professional teaching. Based on state expectations (i.e., the ADEPT Performance Standards) that are aligned with nationally recognized professional standards, the ADEPT system forms a seamless continuum for educators throughout the entirety of their careers. In addition to applications for classroom-based teachers, the ADEPT system also includes standards and models for assisting, developing, and evaluating special area educators (i.e., school guidance counselors, library media specialists, and speech-language therapists). Although classroom-based teachers have shifted to the South Carolina Teaching Standards 4.0, special areas will continue to be evaluated using the 2006 ADEPT model



    The SCDE’s system for Assisting, Developing, and Evaluating Professional Teaching (ADEPT) grew out of the knowledge that good teaching is fundamental to student academic growth and achievement. Implemented statewide in 1998, the ADEPT system has become a vital part of the state’s overall teacher quality initiative. In addition to achieving the minimum score or better on appropriate examinations of both subject matter (content) and general teaching area, teachers were required to complete all ADEPT requirements to be eligible for a professional teaching certificate.


    On the fifth anniversary of ADEPT implementation, the state commissioned a comprehensive external evaluation of the system to determine the strengths, weaknesses, and fidelity of implementation of the system. The evaluation of the system resulted in upgrades beginning with amendments to the ADEPT statute (S.C. Code Ann. §§ 59-26-30 and 59-26-40). Signed into law in 2004, these amendments modified several of the teacher contract levels and corresponding ADEPT procedural requirements. During the second phase of the upgrade (2004–05), a statewide committee of educators was convened to review recommendations for amendments to the State Board of Education’s (SBE) ADEPT regulation (24 S.C. Code Ann. Regs. §§ 43-205.1) and to draft ADEPT implementation guidelines.


    The work of the steering committee resulted in the ADEPT Guidelines that were approved by the South Carolina SBE in 2006 and have continued to be the basis for teacher evaluation and licensure. In 2012, the SCDE applied for and was granted a waiver from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) requirements. The United States Department of Education (USED) approved the waiver provided that an expanded system for educator evaluation was developed and implemented statewide that included student growth measures. To meet USED timelines, in June 2014, initial guidelines were adopted, and in March 2015, the Expanded ADEPT Support and Evaluation System was presented to the SBE.

    In December 2015, ESEA legislation was reauthorized, allowing states greater flexibility in designing educator evaluation systems. The SCDE took this opportunity to rethink its approach to the redesign of the Expanded ADEPT educator evaluation system. Four requests were made of the SBE:

    • Remove the requirement of test score-based measures within educator evaluation.
    • Continue to collect student growth measures through the student learning objectives (SLO) process and the use of local growth measures.
    • Use the student growth measure as an artifact that supports ratings within professional practice domains rather than as its own measure.
    • Grant permission to convene educator stakeholder focus groups to get feedback related to changes in the system.


    These four requests were approved on January 13, 2016. Refinements in these system guidelines reflect stakeholder feedback gathered over the course of 2016–18 from statewide trainings, focus groups, an online feedback survey (over 9,000 responses received), annual Expanded ADEPT plans, webinars, multiple reviews from advisory groups across the state of South Carolina, and independent reviews from the Southern Regional Education Board and the American Institutes of Research. Additionally, feedback from a study conducted by the Research, Evaluation, and Measurement Center at the University of South Carolina in conjunction with districts across the state was used to establish the scoring ranges for 2018. Our work is not over. Refinements to the system will continue to ensure the system is meaningful to South Carolina educators, aligned to the intent of professional growth and development, and thoughtful in its implementation. Every student in South Carolina schools deserves an effective teacher. Teachers deserve timely, thoughtful feedback about their practice to grow and develop at all stages of their professional career.