In Arizona each school district is required to have a new teacher and principal evaluation in place by December 15, 2011. The requirements are slightly different than we are accustomed to. Now, 33-50% of the evaluation is weighted by student achievement data, while the other 50-67% is weighted on teacher performance based on the new InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards that were released in the spring of 2011.

Interestingly enough, very few teachers or administrators I have talked to know anything about the new InTASC standards. There are pockets of educators who are familiar with the standards, however the vast majority is not. This concerns me as an instructional coach supporting teachers and administrators.

Now, let’s discuss the new teacher evaluation in more detail. The first part of the teacher evaluation is comprised of 33-50% on student achievement data. Recognizing the discrepancy in available and reliable student achievement data between teachers in different content areas, the framework is divided into two components: Group A and Group B teachers. Group A teachers are classroom teachers, while Group B teachers are not assigned to a classroom or have limited access. That said, Group A teachers will use their class student achievement data, while Group B teachers will use school level data. 

The second part of the teacher evaluation includes the teaching performance component based on several classroom visits. This is the section I would like to discuss in more detail. The framework for teacher evaluation states, “The ‘teaching performance’ component of the evaluation shall be based upon multiple classroom observations. The evaluation instrument shall include rubrics that are aligned to national teaching standards (InTASC). The ‘teaching performance’ component of the evaluation shall account for between 50% and 67% of evaluation outcomes.

I am curious about the instruments your district is using to measure teacher performance. My district has adapted Charlotte Danielson’s rubric for enhancing professional practice as a means to measure teacher performance. However, they have changed the labels from unsatisfactory, approaching, proficient, and distinguished to falls far below, approaching, meets and exceeds. Point values are assigned to each label, which will ultimately determine whether or not a teacher is offered a contract. We use these same labels to identify our students achievement based on the state standardized tests. Hmmm. I don’t have a problem with the process. I believe teachers need to be held to high standards and accountable for student achievement. I do have a problem with the labels. I am not sure why it bothers me so much.

What are your thoughts? Help me understand, I am stuck. How do I get past the F A M E labels?


Jen Robinson

Jen Robinson

Maricopa, Arizona

Hello, my name is Jen Robinson. I have been in education for over 20 years. I began teaching in Buffalo, NY in 1992, as a pre-school special education teacher. My experience ranges from primary grades through high school. My husband and I moved to Arizona in 2001, where we were fortunate enough to teach at the same school. In 2004, I achieved National Board Certification and currently support candidates. In 2011 I completed my Ed.D. in Leadership and Innovation. My dissertation research focused on supporting National Board candidates through their certification process. During the 2012-2013 school year, I completed my National Board renewal process. It was humbling and very powerful to step back into a classroom. I am currently an elementary principal. I am excited and hopeful for the new school year. I also serve on the Arizona Teacher Solutions Team where we are solutions focused in an effort to transform and elevate the teaching profession.

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