Generating Teaching Effectiveness: The Role of Job-Embedded Professional Learning in Teacher Evaluation
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Generating Teaching Effectiveness: M AY 2 0 1 2 The Role of Job-Embedded Professional Learning in Teacher Evaluation Research & Policy Brief
A Research & Policy Brief Generating Teaching Effectiveness: The Role of Job-Embedded Professional Learning in Teacher Evaluation May 2012 Jane G. Coggshall, Ph.D., National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality Claudette Rasmussen, Great Lakes East Comprehensive Center Amy Colton, Ph.D., Learning Forward of Michigan Jessica Milton, National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality Catherine Jacques, National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality
CONTENTS Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Federal Policy on Teacher Evaluation and Professional Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Research on How Teachers Learn Best . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Job-Embedded Professional Learning. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Learner-Centered Professional Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Knowledge-Centered Professional Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Community-Centered Professional Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Assessment-Centered Professional Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Professional Learning in Teacher Evaluation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Evaluation Promotes Learning Through Shared Understanding of Effective Teaching . . . . . . . . . 7 Evaluation Promotes Learning Through Evidence-Based Feedback . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Evaluation Promotes Learning Through the Assessment of Professional Learning and Collaboration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Essential Conditions for Professional Learning in Evaluation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 Practical Examples of Evaluation Systems That Promote Professional Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Research & Policy Brief 1 INTRODUCTION FEDERAL POLICY ON State and district leaders across the country TEACHER EVALUATION are working intensely to respond to legislation calling for revised teacher evaluation systems AND PROFESSIONAL that incorporate multiple measures of student learning and teacher practice. Whether through LEARNING strengthened accountability or more formative The $4.5 billion federal grant program, Race to support, the primary goal of this work is the the Top, set in motion a host of state and local continuous improvement of teaching and policies, requiring educators to develop and learning. To meet this goal, teacher evaluation implement rigorous teacher evaluation systems systems need to be designed and implemented that assess teacher effectiveness using with teacher learning and development at student learning as at least one of the multiple their core, rather than appended later as an measures. The intent of such evaluation afterthought. Professional development is systems is to help fulfill the Obama regularly associated with the “results” of administration’s priority of ensuring great evaluation, instead of recognized as an integral teachers and leaders in our nation’s schools by part of the evaluation process itself. Thus, casting light on the wide variation in teacher the power of evaluation to generate greater effectiveness within and between schools and teaching effectiveness is severely diminished. to help school leaders make better-warranted personnel decisions (i.e., compensation, The purpose of this Research & Policy Brief promotion, tenure, and dismissal decisions) is to support the thinking and efforts of state based on teacher performance data. and district leaders who are designing and implementing evaluation systems that not only Lost in the clamor generated by these policies measure teaching effectiveness but generate is the equal weight that Race to the Top it. The brief begins by describing the federal developers placed on requiring grantees to policy changes that animate this work. It then use evaluation to inform decisions regarding highlights the research on how teachers learn “developing teachers and principals, including best, specifically how teachers learn from by providing relevant coaching, induction, and/ evaluation to generate increased teaching or professional development” (U.S. Department effectiveness. It also provides guidance on of Education, 2010, Sec. Div[a]) as well as how to assess teachers’ engagement in other personnel decisions. Moreover, it required learning1 and collaboration to incentivize that winning states ensure that participating teachers’ participation in job-embedded districts “conduct annual evaluations of professional learning as well as to recognize teachers and principals that include timely and and account for teachers’ commitment to constructive feedback [and] as part of such continuous improvement. Finally, the brief evaluation provide teachers and principals with concludes with a description of the essential data on student growth for their students, conditions for this important work. classes, and schools” (U.S. Department of Education, 2010, Sec. Diii). 1 In this brief, we refer to these activities as job-embedded professional learning rather than job-embedded professional development as we have in other TQ Center resources to underscore that a shift is taking place in how experts and practitioners think about the kinds of activities that shape and improve teacher knowledge and practice. For a longer discussion of the differences, see Coggshall (2012).
2 Research & Policy Brief Recognition of the need for evidence-based and support systems that: will be used for feedback on teacher practice to enhance continual improvement of instruction; … [and] teacher learning and effectiveness is also a provide clear, timely, and useful feedback, common thread among the state policies that including feedback that identifies needs and arose in response to Race to the Top. For guides professional development….” It further example, in Louisiana, state code mandates specifies that states adopt guidelines for these that each teacher, in collaboration with his or systems and districts develop and implement her evaluator, develop a professional growth systems that are consistent with those plan that is designed to assist teachers guidelines (U.S. Department of Education, in meeting the Louisiana standards for 2012, pp. 18–19). So far, 37 states and the effectiveness (HB 1033[Act 54], Sec. 3902 District of Columbia have applied for a waiver, [a]). In Massachusetts, regulations specify that indicating their intent to meet the previously the districts’ teacher evaluation cycles include outlined specifications. goal setting and the development of an Although the federal and state policies and educator plan based on teacher evaluation associated guidance continue to refer to results that would provide them with feedback teacher learning as “professional development” for improvement, professional growth, and rather than “job-embedded professional leadership (603 CMR 35.00). learning,” the spirit of the policies is clearly Moreover, the $4 billion School Improvement directed toward harnessing teacher evaluation Grant (SIG) program specifies that job-embedded for the continuous improvement of teaching professional development be “aligned with the effectiveness through the provision of evidence- school’s comprehensive instructional program based feedback to teachers. and designed with school staff” for teachers in turnaround and transformation schools (SEA Priorities in Awarding School Improvement Grants, 2010, p. 66366). SIG guidance RESEARCH ON HOW documents emphasize job-embedded professional development that focuses on TEACHERS LEARN BEST “understanding what and how students are Practice, of course, should be guided by learning and on how to address students’ research as well as policy. Unfortunately, learning needs, including reviewing student research on how teachers learn and the best work and achievement data and collaboratively ways to educate them is a relatively young field, planning, testing, and adjusting instructional which has developed in distressing isolation strategies, formative assessments, and from research on teaching itself (Grossman & materials based on such data”(U.S. Department McDonald, 2008). As such, we have relatively of Education, 2011, p. 30). little theoretical grounding and less empirical evidence of how teacher practice develops In addition, the U.S. Department of Education’s along a continuum from novice to proficient to Elementary and Secondary Education Act expert. In an attempt to begin to fill this gap, waiver program provides flexibility for states Ball and Cohen (1999) propose a practice- that commit to “develop, adopt, pilot, and based theory of professional learning that implement, with the involvement of teachers argues essentially, that knowledge about and principals, teacher and principal evaluation teaching must be learned in practice
Research & Policy Brief 3 because “teaching occurs in particulars— is now being applied to performance in particular students interacting with particular other areas such as surgery (Ericsson, 2007), teachers over particular ideas in particular leadership (Ericsson, Prietula, & Cokely, 2007), circumstances” (p. 10). Teachers, they argue, and teaching (Bronkhorst, Meijer, Koster, & need to be able to learn to (p. 11): Vermunt, 2011; Dunn & Shriner, 1999; yy “Size up a situation from moment to Marzano, 2011b). moment,” learning what students are doing Dunn and Shriner (1999) identified teaching and thinking and how instruction is being activities that meet Ericsson et al.’s (1993) understood as classes unfold. criteria2 for deliberate practice. These activities yy Use this knowledge to improve their can include planning and preparation as well practice, examining their instruction with as those that involve analyzing student “care and some detachment, to challenge performance and understanding through the their own thinking, and to draw reasonable use of assessments, graded written work and conclusions.” projects, or informal observations of student yy “Operate experimentally,” making behavior. Joyce and Showers (2002) also predictions about how students may discuss the need for guided practice of respond to instruction, implementing the particular skills, either in simulated settings instruction, collecting and analyzing or actual classrooms, to produce desired evidence of the impact of the instruction, changes in instruction: and revising instruction based on that analysis. How much practice is needed depends, of course, on the complexity of the skill. Through this iterative process of learning To bring a teaching model of medium from practice, teaching improves. However, complexity under control requires 20 or as research on the development of expert 25 trials in the classroom over a period of performance indicates, individuals improve about 8–10 weeks. Simpler skills, or those through routine experience and practice but more similar to previously developed ones, only up to a point (Ericsson, 2006; Ericsson, will require less practice to develop and Krampe, & Tesch-Römer, 1993). The development consolidate than those that are more of expert practice depends instead on many complex or different from the teacher’s hours of deliberate practice and what current repertoire. (p. 74) psychologists call “high-fidelity feedback.” As Ericsson (2006) notes, “Deliberate practice Coaches can help design deliberate practice presents performers with tasks that are tasks that focus on critical aspects of initially outside their current realm of reliable practice and provide high-fidelity feedback performance, yet can be mastered within hours by showing the learner relevant, timely, and of practice by concentrating on critical aspects authentic evidence of the quality of his or her and by gradually refining performance through performance. Teachers also must be given the repetitions after feedback” (p. 694). Although time and support to reflect on that feedback; Ericsson’s theories are based primarily Schön (1983) notes that teachers learn more on studies of the development of expert from reflecting on their experiences than from performance in sports, music, and chess, their engagement in the experiences. the concept of the utility of deliberate practice * These criteria, according to Dunn and Shriner (1999) include: “(a) teachers should perceive the behaviors as highly relevant to improving teaching effectiveness, (b) they should acknowledge that considerable effort is required to initiate and maintain the behaviors over time; (c) they should perform the behaviors frequently, and (d) they need not find the behaviors highly enjoyable in themselves” (p. 634).
4 Research & Policy Brief Moreover, Joyce and Showers (2002) Since How People Learn was published, emphasize that teachers need to persist in the growing research base that focuses practicing new skills. They argue, “In learning a specifically on the effectiveness of teacher new skill, pushing oneself through the awkward professional development programs and first trials is essential. In initial trials (when delivery methods continues to support these performance is awkward and effectiveness conclusions. A growing consensus among appears to decrease rather than increase) … researchers and practitioners suggests that persistence seems to differentiate successful the most effective teacher learning activities from unsuccessful learners” (p. 80). (i.e., those that improve instruction and, in turn, student achievement) involve forms In the book, How People Learn: Brain, Mind, of job-embedded professional learning. For Experience, and School, the National Research a review including examples, see Croft, Council describes a typology of learning Coggshall, Dolan, & Powers (2010). environments that may support practice-based teacher learning including deliberate practice (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000). Based on case studies of teacher learning, the council JOB-EMBEDDED concludes that teachers learn better when environments are more: PROFESSIONAL yy Learner-centered. Learning environments LEARNING that build on the individual strengths, interests, and needs of the learners (in this Research has shown that one-time workshops case, teachers) better enable them to learn; that are typically outside the context of a school this also may be termed personalized or seldom align with ongoing practice and do not differentiated learning environments. reliably lead to improvements in teaching and yy Knowledge-centered. Learning learning (Loucks-Horsley & Matsumoto, 1999). environments that focus on discipline- Job-embedded professional learning, on the specific content knowledge for teaching, other hand, refers to teacher learning that rather than focusing on generic pedagogical (Darling-Hammond & McLaughlin, 1995; Hawley approaches (i.e., cooperative learning & Valli, 1999; Hirsh, 2009): groups). Learning opportunities should help yy Is grounded in day-to-day teaching practice. teachers understand their subject matter yy Occurs regularly. more deeply and flexibly, including how to teach the particular subject matter well yy Consists of teachers analyzing students’ (which may involve learning about learning and finding solutions to immediate cooperative grouping strategies). problems of practice. yy Community-centered. Learning yy Is aligned with student standards, school environments that involve norms such curricula, and school improvement goals. as collaboration, learning, and inquiry As such, job-embedded professional learning also support teacher learning. is more likely to be learner centered, yy Assessment-centered. Learning knowledge centered, community centered, environments that provide opportunities and assessment centered than other forms for teachers to test their understanding of professional development. by trying out new approaches and receiving feedback to better enable teacher learning.
Research & Policy Brief 5 Learner-Centered Darling-Hammond, & Adamson, 2010). To achieve positive change in educator practice, Professional Learning teachers need opportunities to observe, model, High-quality, job-embedded professional learning and practice new and effective strategies in is likely to be learner-centered to support content instruction. Furthermore, reflective, teachers’ active engagement in sustained ongoing professional inquiry provides insight into professional learning activities that are the concrete challenges involved in teaching and specifically designed and intended to improve learning specific subject matter (Garet et al., instructional effectiveness based on formative 2001; Saxe, Gearhart, & Nasir, 2001). feedback (Bronkhorst et al., 2011; Palmer, Stough, Burdenski, & Gonzales, 2005). To Community-Centered promote deliberate practice in teaching, teachers need to learn how to analyze and Professional Learning reflect on their students’ learning and the High-quality, job-embedded professional learning changes they may need to make to improve is most often community-centered. As adult the impact of their instruction. Continuous learners, educators need opportunities to professional learning should be connected to collaborate with and learn from other specific challenges teachers experience in their knowledgeable teachers and school colleagues classroom and intentionally integrated into the in meaningful and concrete ways. Teacher workday and relationships of educators. Through evaluation can be a tool for identifying effective this approach, collective responsibility and teachers within a school who can serve as shared leadership for improved professional teacher leaders capable of sharing their practice and student learning can be achieved (Darling- and facilitating professional learning. Hammond, Wei, Andree, Richardson, & Orphanos, 2009; Desimone, Porter, Garet, One structure for collaboration, professional Yoon, & Birman, 2002; Putnam & Borko, 2000). learning communities or site-based teams, provides supportive interactions for teachers to assume a variety of leadership roles and Knowledge-Centered encourage professional communication about Professional Learning student learning, shared values, innovative ideas, and instructional practice (Louis, High-quality, job-embedded professional learning Dretzke, & Wahlstrom, 2010). Emerging is likely to be knowledge-centered because in the research has shown that when professional analysis of student learning, teachers refine learning communities have a common focus on their understanding of the content and how their student learning and purposeful sharing of students understand the content. Research instructional practice, teachers adopt findings associate positive change in educator pedagogical practices that improve student practice with professional learning activities that learning experiences (Louis et al., 2010; Louis focus not only on curriculum content but the & Marks, 1998; Miller, Goddard, Goddard, teaching and learning of that content (Blank & Larsen, & Jacob, 2010; Saunders, de las Alas, 2009). Creating rigorous learning Goldenberg, & Gallimore, 2009). Recent experiences for a diverse student population studies indicate that teacher collaboration requires teachers to deepen their understanding increases collective efficacy, improves of the specific curriculum content they teach and attitudes toward teaching, and fosters a greater acquire the technical and pedagogical skills they understanding of students (Miller et al., 2010). need to teach that content effectively (Garet, Porter, Desimone, Birman, & Yoon, 2001; Wei,
6 Research & Policy Brief Assessment-Centered Based on what is known about teacher learning and evaluation, the wind turbine in Figure 1 Professional Learning depicts the three primary ways teacher Finally, high-quality, job-embedded professional evaluation has the potential to generate learning is likely to be assessment-centered. teaching effectiveness. Well-designed and Key principles of teacher assessment include well-implemented aligned evaluation systems: providing opportunities for feedback and revision yy Help teachers and school leaders develop a and ensuring that what is assessed is congruent common understanding of the contours of with a teacher’s learning goals (Bransford et al., effective practice and what the expectations 2000). The ability to analyze both the process are for their performance. and impact of one’s instruction and make yy Provide sufficient evidence-based feedback modifications based on that analysis is not only to teachers to help them reflect on and an essential aspect of instruction (Raudenbush, improve their practice. 2008) but an important part of learning and yy Measure and account for teachers’ learning improvement (Ball & Cohen, 1999; Learning and collaboration. Forward, 2011; National Board for Professional Generating Teaching Effectiveness: Teaching Standards, 1987). TheResiding at the hub ofProfessional Role of Job-Embedded this system, job-embedded Learning in Teacher Evaluation professional learning supports teacher learning To learn and improve instruction, teachers throughout the evaluation process. need to apply and adapt new ways of teaching in the classroom, “testing” them to see whether they work. Feedback on whether or Figure 1. Generating Teaching Effectiveness: The Role of Job-Embedded Professional Learning in not instructional practices are working can Teacher Evaluation come in the form of student learning data, Practice the teachers’ own observations of student engagement, observations from a peer or a Effective coach, a video-taped record of the practice, rstanding of discussion within a professional learning ility Pro community, or the results of a formal ab fes unt Shared Unde si o evaluation. Considering the various forms of c on Ac al Gro instructional feedback available, teacher wth analysis and reflection should be a shared and Job- Embedded collaborative effort. Professional Learning n ratio Evi llabo den ing & Co ce- f Learn Ba sed ures o Meas Fee dba PROFESSIONAL ck LEARNING IN Aligned Evaluation System TEACHER EVALUATION Well-designed and well-implemented aligned evaluation systems, as described in Goe, Biggers, and Croft (2012), provide assessment- Generating Teaching Effectiveness centered environments that have the potential to help teachers learn and improve. Because these evaluation systems are so new, empirical evidence on how they work to improve practice is slim.
Research & Policy Brief 7 The following subsections provide a review to effective teaching. Professional teaching of the research and practice on the following standards and frameworks, such as the InTASC three ways that evaluation can increase Standards, the National Board for Professional teaching effectiveness: Teaching Standards, or Charlotte Danielson’s yy Establish a shared understanding of Framework for Teaching, seek to clearly effective practice. describe teaching excellence in all of its facets and complexity and provide high but achievable yy Produce evidence-based feedback. goals for teacher practice. Moreover, standards yy Assess learning and collaboration. provide a common language for teachers and This brief contains descriptions of one state- leaders to talk about instruction so that all level and two district-level efforts to design and stakeholders have a shared understanding implement teacher evaluation systems that seek of what effective practice is and looks like to put job-embedded professional learning at the (Danielson, 2011a; Sartain, Steoelinga, & core: The Teacher Evaluation and Development Brown, 2011). (TED) System for Districts in New York State, In turn, high-quality evaluation systems the Montgomery County Public Schools use multiple measures (e.g., classroom (MCPS) Teacher Professional Growth System observation rubrics, assessments of student (TPGS), and the District of Columbia Public learning, student survey results) to capture Schools (DCPS) IMPACT evaluation system. the extent to which teachers meet the standards and their students meet their Evaluation Promotes Learning learning goals. These measures and associated metrics ideally further clarify Through Shared Understanding the goals for teaching and help teachers of Effective Teaching understand the steps to achieve those goals. Well-designed and well-implemented aligned Many sets of teaching standards include evaluation systems (i.e., those that enhance standards regarding teachers’ professional teaching and learning) have professional responsibilities and the expectation that teaching standards (which are aligned with teachers engage in professional learning, student learning standards) that describe the including learning from the results of their performances, knowledge, and dispositions practice and collaborating with their colleagues that comprise excellence in teaching (Goe, to increase their effectiveness. Table 1 contains Holdheide, & Miller, 2011; Goe et al., 2012). some examples of these standards. These standards identify what is valued in a school system and the factors that contribute
8 Research & Policy Brief Table 1. Teaching Standards: Professional Learning Examples From Existing Frameworks InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards (CCSSO) Standard 9: Professional Learning and Ethical Practice. The teacher engages in ongoing professional learning and uses evidence to continually evaluate his/her practice, particularly the effects of his/her choices and actions on others (learners, families, other professionals, and the community), and adapts practice to meet the needs of each learner. Standard 10: Leadership and Collaboration. The teacher seeks appropriate leadership roles and opportunities to take responsibility for student learning, to collaborate with learners, families, colleagues, other school professionals, and community members to ensure learner growth, and to advance the profession. Source: Council of Chief State School Officers, 2011, pp. 18–19 National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Five Core Propositions Proposition 4: Teachers Think Systematically About Their Practice and Learn From Experience. yy NBCTs model what it means to be an educated person – they read, they question, they create and they are willing to try new things. yy They are familiar with learning theories and instructional strategies and stay abreast of current issues in American education. yy They critically examine their practice on a regular basis to deepen knowledge, expand their repertoire of skills, and incorporate new findings into their practice. Proposition 5: Teachers Are Members of Learning Communities. yy NBCTs collaborate with others to improve student learning. yy They are leaders and actively know how to seek and build partnerships with community groups and businesses. yy They work with other professionals on instructional policy, curriculum development, and staff development. yy They can evaluate school progress and the allocation of resources in order to meet state and local education objectives. yy They know how to work collaboratively with parents to engage them productively in the work of the school. Source: National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, 1987 Teaching as Leadership Framework (Teach For America) Continuously Increase Effectiveness. Reflecting constantly on the pace of student progress toward the goals, highly effective teachers seek to improve their instructional practices to maximize student learning. yy Gauge progress and gaps. yy Identify contributing student actions. yy Identify contributing teacher actions. yy Identify underlying factors. yy Access relevant meaningful learning experiences. yy Adjust course. Source: Teach For America, n.d.
Research & Policy Brief 9 Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching 4a. Reflecting on Teaching Distinguished Practice: Teacher makes a thoughtful and accurate assessment of a lesson’s effectiveness and the extent to which it achieved its instructional outcomes, citing many specific examples from the lesson and weighing the relative strengths of each. Drawing on an extensive repertoire of skills, teacher offers specific alternative actions, complete with the probable success of different courses of action (p. 75). 4d. Participating in a Professional Community Distinguished Practice: Teacher’s relationships with colleagues are characterized by mutual support and cooperation, with the teacher taking initiative in assuming leadership among the faculty. Teacher volunteers to participate in school events and district projects making a substantial contribution, and assuming a leadership role in at least one aspect of school or district life (p. 87). 4e. Growing and Developing Professionally Distinguished Practice: Teacher seeks out opportunities for professional development and makes a systematic effort to conduct action research. Teacher seeks out feedback on teaching from both supervisors and colleagues. Teacher initiates important activities to contribute to the profession (p. 91). Source: Danielson, 2011b Robert Marzano’s Causal Teacher Evaluation Model Domain 4: Collegiality and Professionalism Promoting a Positive Environment 1. Promoting positive interactions about colleagues 2. Promoting positive interactions about students and parents Promoting Exchange of Ideas and Strategies 1. Seeking mentorship for areas of need or interest 2. Mentoring other teachers and sharing ideas and strategies Source: Marzano, 2011a, p. 4 District of Columbia Public Schools Commitment to the School Community CSC5 Teacher consistently collaborates with colleagues to improve student achievement in an effective manner. Teacher extends impact by proactively seeking out collaborative opportunities with other teachers and/or by dedicating a truly exceptional amount of time and energy towards promoting effective instructional collaboration. Source: District of Columbia Public Schools, 2011a, pp. 46–47
10 Research & Policy Brief New York State Teaching Standards Standard VI: Professional Responsibilities and Collaboration Teachers demonstrate professional responsibility and engage relevant stakeholders to maximize student growth, development, and learning. Element VI.2: Teachers engage and collaborate with colleagues and the community to develop and sustain a common culture that supports high expectations for student learning. Performance Indicators: a. Teachers support and promote the shared school and district vision and mission to support school improvement. b. Teachers participate actively as part of an instructional team. c. Teachers share information and best practices with colleagues to improve practice. d. Teachers demonstrate an understanding of the school as an organization within a historical, cultural, political, and social context. e. Teachers collaborate with others both within and outside the school to support student growth, development, and learning. f. Teachers collaborate with the larger community to access and share learning resources. Standard VII: Professional Growth Teachers set informed goals and strive for continuous professional growth. Element VII.1: Teachers reflect on their practice to improve instructional effectiveness and guide professional growth. Performance Indicators: a. Teachers examine and analyze formal and informal evidence of student learning. b. Teachers recognize the effect of their prior experiences and possible biases on their practice. c. Teachers use acquired information to identify personal strengths and weaknesses and to plan professional growth. Element VII.2: Teachers set goals for, and engage in, ongoing professional development needed to continuously improve teaching competencies. Performance Indicators: a. Teachers set goals to enhance personal strengths and address personal weaknesses in teaching practice. b. Teachers engage in opportunities for professional growth and development. Element VII.3: Teachers communicate and collaborate with students, colleagues, other professionals, and the community to improve practice. Performance Indicators: a. Teachers demonstrate a willingness to give and receive constructive feedback to improve professional practice. b. Teachers participate actively as part of an instructional team to improve professional practice. c. Teachers receive, reflect, and act on constructive feedback from others in an effort to improve their own professional practice. Element VII.4: Teachers remain current in their knowledge of content and pedagogy by utilizing professional resources. Performance Indicators: a. Teachers benefit from, contribute to, or become members of appropriate professional organizations. b. Teachers access and use professional literature and other professional development opportunities to increase their understanding of teaching and learning. Teachers expand their knowledge of current
Research & Policy Brief 11 Montgomery County Public Schools Standard V: Teachers are committed to continuous improvement and professional development. Performance Criteria: a. The teacher continually reflects upon his/her practice in promoting student learning and adjusts instruction accordingly. b. The teacher draws upon educational research and research-based strategies in planning instructional content and delivery. c. The teacher is an active member of professional learning communities. Source: Montgomery County Public Schools, 2011, p. A-8 Job-Embedded Professional Learning One way for teachers to begin learning the to Support Shared Understandings expectations, standards, and metrics of the of Effectiveness evaluation system is for them to use the standards and evaluation rubrics in a self- One way to harness the power of an aligned assessment, in which they describe the extent evaluation system is to provide adequate and to which they believe their current teaching effective job-embedded professional learning practice meets or exceeds those standards. opportunities for teachers to learn the standards If done thoughtfully, teachers can familiarize and metrics that make up the system. Learning themselves with the goals of the evaluation. the standards can be a challenge, yet the entire Teacher self-assessment is often the first step evaluation process hinges on all stakeholders in an evaluation cycle or process. For example, having a thorough understanding of the in the North Carolina Teacher Evaluation standards. Some of the more commonly used Process, teachers are asked to complete a frameworks for classroom observations include self-assessment using the system rubric at the multiple domains and indicators within those beginning of the year. Evaluators do not collect domains. For example, the Danielson Framework the self-assessment, but it is used in the for Teaching has 4 domains with 22 components development of a teachers’ professional and 76 elements across those domains. The development plan and is discussed during Marzano teacher evaluation framework has preobservation and postobservation 4 domains and 60 indicators. The InTASC conferences (Mid-continent Research for standards, which are used as a basis for many Education and Learning, 2009). (See also the state certification systems, have 10 standards Practical Example of the TED System on page with a total of 75 example performance 22 for its approach to teacher self-reflection). indicators, 56 indicators of essential knowledge, and 43 indicators of critical dispositions across Goal setting using the standards is another those 10 standards. Whatever comprehensive helpful tool for understanding the expectations. framework is used, it will take time for those Teachers, usually in collaboration with their new to the system to learn it because they will principal, may choose two or three standards be unlikely to have learned it in their teacher on which to focus their improvement efforts preparation programs. throughout the year. Even when a complex framework is well articulated, teachers may
12 Research & Policy Brief need support to break the performance the lesson (here they are)—what kinds of standard down further into tasks that they can questions did you ask? Where might you place practice deliberately and for which they can yourself on the rubric regarding the use of receive feedback for improvement. One effective questioning techniques?” approach is for teachers to video record their Providing feedback in this way changes the teaching practice as part of their self- nature of the conversation from a “telling” assessment, response to feedback, or work of one’s practice to an evidence-based toward meeting professional practice goals. professional conversation in which the teacher Teachers who observe their own practice are has the opportunity to reflect on and self- able to set goals based on their actual assess his or her practice. This kind of learner- performance and directly connect the centered conversation is more likely to lead to standards to their everyday work. improvement in practice. As Garmston and Wellman (2009) argue, dialogue between an Evaluation Promotes Learning evaluator and a teacher is ideally reflective and Through Evidence-Based leads to shared meaning and understanding. Feedback However, even in a well-designed evaluation system, the feedback that teachers receive Well-designed and well-implemented aligned can vary. As a study of a pilot evaluation evaluation systems that generate teaching system in Chicago revealed, although teachers effectiveness ensure that teachers receive and principals reported that the new evaluation sufficient, timely, and accurate evidence-based system led them to have conversations that feedback on their practice to make positive were more focused on important matters of changes. Feedback is formative and highly instruction than their previous non-standards- focused with the potential to shape teaching based system, the researchers found that (Goe et al., 2012; Hill & Herlihy, 2011). the feedback conversations tended to be In most teacher evaluation systems, the dominated by the principal. Only 10 percent opportunity for feedback tends to occur as of the questions principals asked of teachers the evaluator, usually a principal or teacher reflected high expectations for teachers or leader, and a teacher engage in professional required deep reflection about instructional conversations during a preobservation or practice (Sartain et al., 2011). Rarely did postobservation conference that is part of a the principal or teacher push each other’s formal evaluation process. These conversations interpretations of the situation. typically focus on teaching with respect to Nevertheless, basing the conversations on the evaluator’s assessment of the teacher’s evidence collected during the observation practice using the evaluation standards and helped reduce subjectivity and improved tools. The evidence the principal collects during teachers’ ability to reflect on their practice: an observation (e.g., the number of students who were doodling in their notebooks, the One administrator explained that having questions the teacher asked, or the percentage evidence made “it easier to talk about of time the students spent in non-accountable the good and the bad.” Evidence-based talk) is the basis for these conversations. For observations also helped to remove some example, rather than the principal telling the of the emotion from the evaluation process. teacher, “You only asked lower-order thinking When talking to teachers who were unhappy questions,” the principals can say, “I wrote with their ratings, or who had received down all the questions you asked during Unsatisfactory ratings, one administrator
Research & Policy Brief 13 said, “You will have enough evidence to evaluators on deliberate practice of skills, support what you’re saying.” Evidence- which can lead to the development of expert based feedback during postconferences performance (Ericsson, 2006). Thus, teachers gave teachers “the opportunity to look at need other opportunities for job-embedded themselves and what their performance truly professional learning and feedback. looked like.” (Sartain et al., 2011, p. 23) Although the evidence-based feedback teachers Teachers need to be supported by their receive through the evaluation process from principals or other instructional leaders in their principal or evaluator can be a powerful analyzing and reflecting on their own practice learning experience, evaluators are not the and learning from feedback. Supporting only ones who can provide feedback. More teachers in this way is not a simple skill frequent and thus potentially more educative for principals or teacher leaders to learn. evidence-based feedback can come from Evaluator training tends to focus on how to peers in a professional learning community, collect appropriate evidence and make reliable from a trained coach or mentor, and from a and valid judgments or ratings about the collaborative examination and reflection on quality of teaching based on the evidence student work. against the standard, rather than on how to “Elbow coaching,” an approach in which coaches engage in professional conversations that teach elbow-to-elbow with the teacher in the facilitate teacher learning from the evidence classroom, is an emerging method for providing and those judgments (Hill & Herlihy, 2011). the immediate feedback that teachers need to Focusing on data collection and ratings is improve their practice. In this model, the coach difficult enough (e.g., Bill & Melinda Gates models a practice or teaches five minutes or Foundation, 2012), but focusing exclusively on so of a lesson, so the teacher can see excellent those factors limits the power of evaluation to practice in action (Johnson, 2012) and generate greater teaching effectiveness. immediately try it as he or she resumes teaching More evaluation systems are beginning to provide the class. As Johnson notes, this “real-time, training for their evaluators and instructional bite-sized” feedback is potentially more powerful leaders in how to embed evidence-based than coaching sessions in which “after feedback in professional conversations that observing a lesson, a coach might say to the support reflection and self-assessment (See teacher, ‘now what I would have done is ….’” Practical Examples on the TED System, Such coaching has an additional benefit to Montgomery County Public Schools’ System, students because they receive instruction and the IMPACT System on pages 22–25 for directly from expert teachers and the student- varied approaches to such training). teacher ratio is reduced by half (National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, 2012). Job-Embedded Professional Learning Teachers in the TAP program are evaluated four to Support Learning From Evidence- to six times per year, after which they engage in Based Feedback a 40-minute postobservation conference during which the teacher and instructional leader The opportunities for observation and feedback discuss “area of reinforcement” and one “area in formal evaluation systems vary, occurring as of refinement” tied to specific indicators on the rarely as once every three years for tenured TAP rubric (National Institute for Excellence in teachers in some districts, to two or three times Teaching, 2012). Still, TAP leaders recognize per year in other districts, and as often as five that to genuinely improve teaching, follow-up times per year in a few districts (e.g., the District coaching is needed to help teachers refine their of Columbia). In short, teachers have limited teaching practice in the targeted areas. opportunities to receive feedback from
14 Research & Policy Brief Evaluation Promotes Learning colleagues in the following ways (Alter & Coggshall, 2009): Through the Assessment of yy Analyzing the impact of their practice on Professional Learning and student learning Collaboration yy Engaging in reflection on their practice Hill and Herlihy (2011) make a valid and yy Adapting their practice as a result of their important point when they state, “the reform deep reflection of the teacher evaluation system will see its yy Actively collaborating with colleagues in this chief successes not through carrots and learning process sticks, but through providing teachers with information about their performance and In addition to taking these actions, teachers means for improvement” (p. 5). However, one need to develop a disposition for ongoing way to establish an expectation that teachers analysis of the impact of their instruction on engage meaningfully in structured and student learning and the reflection on their facilitated job-embedded professional learning practice in an effort to continuously increase with the collective purpose of enhancing their effectiveness. As the research on teacher student learning may be by measuring such learning implies, teachers need to develop a engagement as part of teachers’ final habit of asking such questions as “How did my evaluation “score.” instruction impact my students’ learning of this content?” “What might I need to do next?” “How Doing so in a way that promotes true learning might I improve upon this lesson in the future?” rather than mere compliance will be a change “What more might I need to learn?” Then, they for many evaluation systems. Despite the need need to adjust their practice based on what they for teachers to learn in practice (as suggested have learned. These indicators of professional by Ball & Cohen, 1999), as well as from learning are integral to achieving the levels of deliberate practice (as suggested by Dunn & competency defined by established professional Shriner, 1999 and Ericsson, 2006), most teaching standards (as shown in Table 1) and to evaluation systems place little, if any, emphasis impact student learning. on teachers’ responsibilities for professional learning and collaboration. Even when such Sources of Evidence for responsibilities are included as performance Measuring Learning expectations (as shown in Table 1), the collection and analysis of evidence of teachers’ There are several factors to consider when continuous learning is rarely as rigorous as it selecting sources of evidence of teacher is for other domains of practice. Including engagement in learning and collaboration. Goe professional learning and collaboration in et al., and Croft (2012) offer five general evaluation in a much more focused way could criteria to assist developers when making provide the necessary impetus for districts to decisions about which measures to include in establish collaborative cultures for continuous their evaluation systems (p. 6): improvement and to institute the structures and yy “Measures are directly and explicitly aligned supports necessary to support job-embedded with teaching standards. This alignment professional learning. ensures that what is valued most is being measured and what is expected is Professionals take charge of their own growth unambiguous. and development by constantly seeking to yy “Measures include protocols and strengthen teaching effectiveness and the processes that teachers can examine quality of their teaching and that of their and comprehend. Evaluation that makes
Research & Policy Brief 15 sense to teachers will be more meaningful teacher’s strengths and weaknesses across and have a greater impact. time and in different contexts. For example, yy “Measures allow teachers to participate in evidence provided by the analysis of teacher or co-construct the evaluation. Collecting artifacts also should be aligned with and evidence on themselves encourages validated by different measures, such as the reflection on practice and empowers conclusions and evidence provided in a teachers to be proactive in their evaluation. classroom observation using a rubric (Clare yy “Measures allow teachers opportunities & Aschbacher, 2001; Matsumura et al., to discuss the results with evaluators, 2006; New York State United Teachers, administrators, colleagues, teacher 2011a, 2011b). learning communities, mentors, and Table 2 provides a summary of the measures coaches. Active intellectual engagement of professional learning and collaboration leads to deeper learning. that can be used in an evaluation system. yy “Measures align with professional The following list of sources of evidence is development offerings. The type of data not intended to be exhaustive. Rather it collected lends itself to informed represents the sources most often cited in professional development decisions.” the literature and conducive to job-embedded In addition to concerns about validity and professional learning (Danielson, 2011b; Goe reliability, the selection of evidence also et al., 2008; Goe et al., 2011; Goe et al., 2012; should be based on public credibility— Hillsborough County Public Schools, 2011; teachers need to see the evidence as New York State United Teachers, 2011a, reasonable and appropriate (Goe, Bell, 2011b; Peine, 2008). Examples from actual & Little, 2008). The sources of evidence teacher evaluation systems are provided for described in this section are potentially each source. very credible. Each can be viewed and valued as an integral element of the learning process in which teachers are engaged. Each source facilitates and evaluates at least one of the skills of analysis, reflection, adaptation, and ongoing collaboration, with some evaluating more than one indicator. Finally, no one piece of evidence can provide all of the information needed to accurately measure teacher effectiveness (Goe et al., 2012). Using multiple measures of teacher learning and collaboration can provide a safeguard against false positives (i.e., instances in which teachers are able to demonstrate what they are capable of but not necessarily what they do every day). Triangulation adds rigor to the evaluation by providing a more holistic picture of a
16 Research & Policy Brief Table 2. Measuring Professional Learning and Collaboration Indicators of Teacher Sources of Evidence/ Assessment of the Examples of Measures in Learning and Documentation Evidence (Measurement) Use in Teacher Evaluation Collaboration Teachers analyze the yyActivity logs yyRubrics with scoring yyNewport News Public impact of their practice yyArtifact analysis criteria Schools on student learning. yyClassroom observations, yyStandards-based yyHillsborough Teacher yyTeachers analyze what including preobservation template for collecting Evaluation Instrument students’ performances and postobservation evidence yyPittsburgh RISE Rubric suggest about their conferences yyProtocols with scoring yyTeacher Education and teaching. yyPortfolios criteria Development (TED) yyTeachers analyze the yyMontgomery County effect of their Public Schools Teacher professional learning on Professional Growth Plan student learning. (MCPS TPGS ) yyTeacher and Student Advancement (TAP) Teachers reflect on their yyArtifact analysis yyRubrics with scoring yyTED practice. yyWritten reflections as criteria yyMCPS TPGS yyTeachers consider what part of a professional yyStandards-based yyHillsborough Teacher they might do next based portfolio of evidence template for collecting Evaluation on their analysis. yyProfessional growth evidence yyTAP yyTeachers consider how to plans make adjustments to future instruction based on their analyses. Teachers adapt practices yyActivity logs yyRubrics with scoring yyTED based on their yyArtifact analysis criteria yyMCPS TPGS reflections. yyObservations yyRubrics with scoring yyTAP yyTeachers adjust their yyPortfolios with logs, criteria practices to meet the commentary, and artifact yyStandards-based learning needs of all analysis template for collecting students. evidence yyProfessional growth plans Teachers actively engage yyArtifact analysis yyFrequency scales (did yyDistrict of Columbia in collaboration. yyPortfolios with logs and not find this for activity IMPACT yyTeachers actively commentary logs) yyMCPS TPGS participate on teams yyRubrics with scoring yyActivity logs• yyNewport News Public and/or in professional criteria yyObservations of Schools learning communities. professional learning yyTED yyTeachers maintain communities, coaching yyTAP positive relationships sessions with colleagues.
Research & Policy Brief 17 Activity Logs. An activity log of teachers’ be focused on populating the activity log and professional learning experiences and diverted from teaching. Finally, the use of activity their involvement as members of learning logs as evidence assumes that what teachers communities or instructional teams is one report is accurate and not fabricated or source of evidence used to measure teachers’ enhanced. Triangulating results with artifacts analysis, reflection, and collaboration. Logs helps corroborate teachers’ self-reports. provide structure for documenting teachers’ Artifact Analysis. An artifact typically refers to commitment to significant, ongoing professional a product resulting from teachers’ work such learning. A teacher’s log often reflects multiple as lesson or unit plans, teacher assignments, years of professional learning to document his student work samples, teacher-created or her commitment to continuous improvement. assessments, scoring rubrics, and video clips or Teachers might have numerous professional slideshows. The artifact is usually collected and learning experiences in a year, so they need to analyzed by the teacher, and both the artifact be very discerning in selecting what to include. and analysis are shared with the evaluator. The Teachers’ activity logs typically include artifact analysis can be designed to provide detailed descriptions of their significant evidence of professional learning in terms of learning opportunities, an analysis of the analysis, reflection, and alignment with teaching significance of the new learning on their standards. In MCPS’s Teacher Professional practice, and a summary of the impact of Growth System, several artifacts are listed as their new practice on their students’ learning. possible sources of data beyond classroom In addition, teachers also may be asked to observations for the evaluation of each standard provide artifacts as validation of their (See Practical Examples). participation in the activities (e.g., letters Although the analysis of artifacts can be from administrators indicating participation, conducted by the individual teacher, pairs or study team minutes) and the impact on their groups of teachers can work collaboratively practice (e.g., a newly developed resource, a to complete the analysis. Little’s (2003) lesson plan). (A richer description of artifacts review of school-based initiatives that include is provided in the following subsection). examination of student work found that The Newport News (Virginia) Public Schools’ analyzing student work in groups cultivates second-year teacher evaluation system, for professional communities that are willing and example, requires teachers to describe the able to inquire into practice. Matsumara and professional development in which they Pascal (2003) support collaborative participated and explain how it helped them professional learning based on classroom meet their established growth goals as well assignments and corresponding student work as how their learning impacted their students’ samples. According to Goe et al. (2012), learning. Similarly, the TED system and MCPS classroom artifacts are a promising measure TPGS ask teachers to log their professional that supports professional learning and can development activities (See Practical Examples). be used to evaluate teacher effectiveness. Although activity logs provide evidence of factors To help ensure validity and reliability, artifact that affect teaching and that an evaluator may analysis should be guided by a structured not be able to observe, they require considerable protocol or template that has been tested by time for teachers to keep frequent and detailed several users. Protocols guide conversations, accounts of their professional learning. State providing educators with a schedule and and district leaders considering activity logs as structure for engaging in dialogue and offering part of an evaluation system also should be formative feedback based on the analysis of aware of the potential for teachers’ attention to and reflection on artifacts. Protocols also
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