Evaluation That Rewards Teacher Development

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By Dr. Beverly Carbaugh

In our travels around the country, we’ve seen districts embracing the Marzano Focused Teacher Evaluation Model with a lot of enthusiasm. Principals and teachers like the emphasis on just 23 powerful core competencies—elements of teacher pedagogy and practice that research has shown get the most dramatic results in student learning and professional growth.

This narrowed focus makes the model particularly user friendly—an easy transition for teachers who have used the previous model, but also simpler for new teachers who need to grasp the “big picture” and apply their new learning immediately in the classroom.

What the Data Told Us

We enjoyed developing this model, because we could put into practice a great deal of what we’ve learned since we started developing teacher evaluation models with Dr. Marzano in 2012. The earlier models allowed us to gather an enormous amount of data on teacher evaluation—and we used the insights gleaned from that data to identify teaching practices most critical for standards-based classrooms.

Because we found, for instance, that teachers seemed to be avoiding, or are uncomfortable with, instruction to develop critical thinking skills, we made these practices significant elements of the 10 instructional competencies.

Carrot, Not Stick

Teachers are encouraged to develop these advanced classroom skills. But because we recommend that, instead of averaging element scores from multiple observations, observers take only the best score in each element, teachers are rewarded for doing the hard work of mastering these skills.

As deputy superintendent Bill Corbett told the Pinellas County School Board at a recent board workshop, “We’re not changing the instructional model. We’re only changing the way to do the scoring on the observations…it’s a minor change and a quick learning curve.”