A recent study on the implementation of revised teacher evaluation systems reveals implications for education policymakers across the country. It describes characteristics of evaluation systems that focus on growing instructional practice.
Over the last five years, school districts across the country have used the Center for Educational Leadership’s (CEL) 5D+ Rubric to build evaluation systems that help teachers grow and improve instruction.
Center for Educational Leadership videos take educators into real classrooms to observe and analyze the complex practice of teaching. These videos are designed to help school districts facilitate the development of a common language and vision around high-quality classroom instruction using their instructional framework as the lens. Each video is accompanied by a set of guiding questions, based on CEL’s 5 Dimensions of Teaching and Learning™ instructional framework, which can be used to facilitate individual and group learning. Purchase CEL classroom instruction DVDs while supplies last.
Beginning with the 2017 school year, the State of Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) requires that all Washington districts currently using the 5D+ Rubric transition to version 3 of the rubric: the 5D+ Rubric for Instructional Growth and Teacher Evaluation.
The Center for Educational Leadership's (CEL) 5D+ Rubric Transition Training helps principals, central office leaders and teachers recalibrate their understanding of the teaching and learning practices described by each indicator, transitioning from version 2 to version 3 of the 5D+ Rubric.
In education policy — as in life — there are few second chances. So it’s exciting to see that as a result of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), teacher evaluation seems to have gotten one of these rare opportunities to reassess and change course.
ESSA hands more policymaking power to states and districts. States will have complete control over teacher evaluations and more power over how test scores and other factors figure into accountability. In fact, state legislatures have already started to change assessment and accountability requirements.
So how should we use this second chance to design a teacher evaluation system with the right priorities that helps both students and teachers reach higher levels?
The short answer is: with a focus on growth.
Strong instructional practitioners are constantly reflecting on their practice, grounding their practice in research, and working to improve and streamline their practice to be more effective in their impact on student learning. Following this spirit of instructional innovation and learning, the University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership (CEL) has released an updated version of the 5D+ Rubric for Instructional Growth and Teacher Evaluation.
As a research institution, CEL learns from district partners and revises its work based upon that learning. While version 2 of the 5D+ Rubric is a sound and complete evaluation and growth tool, the new version 3 is clearer, more concise and easier to use for teachers and principals.
For schools across the country, teacher evaluations are now part of the day-to-day work. This new reality brings many new questions. Are we linking the right data variables to teaching effectiveness? What's the future of teacher and principal licensure? How can decision makers best support teacher development and help new teachers see a sustainable and successful career path?
A few months into the second year of statewide implementation of new teacher and principal evaluation systems, most educators in Washington state seem to know their way around the new approach to evaluation and professional development. In a statewide survey, almost 80 per cent of teachers said that they were very or somewhat familiar with the revised evaluation requirements. Among principals and district leaders, almost 90 per cent reported understanding the various components of the teacher evaluation.
As I travel around the state to coach teachers and principals on how to use and implement our 5D framework and 5D+ Teacher Evaluation Rubric, I'm excited to see so many educators embrace this new growth-oriented evaluation mindset.
We all know that improving instruction doesn't happen overnight, it's an intentional and lifelong process that requires constant attention and focus. To keep the new system on track, districts need to look beyond the initial implementation and plan for the long run.
Here are three short updates on new state guidelines and upcoming Center for Educational Leadership (CEL) resources that can help you with this important task:
Helping educators understand what good teaching looks like is at the heart of all our efforts to improve instruction. That’s why we are excited to offer 5D+™ Stage II Online Training, a new convenient learning tool for principals, principal supervisors and teacher leaders.
5D+ Stage II Online Training develops and deepens learners’ knowledge of CEL’s instructional framework, teacher evaluation rubric, and inquiry cycle. 5D+ Stage I Online Training introduced participants to the Classroom Environment & Culture dimension of the framework and rubric as well as the 5D+ Inquiry Cycle. 5D+ Stage II Online Training provides learners an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of each of the remaining four dimensions. To get the most out of the new Stage I online training, learners should have completed Stage I, either online or in person.
At Woodlands Elementary in Bremerton, Washington state, Cindy Larson’s kindergartners don’t just answer her questions. They explain their thinking and evaluate their classmates’ reasoning. For example, during a lesson on measurement, one of the boys asked to come to the whiteboard and explain why another student’s answer was incorrect.
"He was basically up there teaching the class," Larson said. "That would never have happened in my classroom before." Discussing content at such intellectual depth early on bodes well for students’ future growth, she added. "If we’re starting this in kindergarten, the discussions in the upper grades are going to look qualitatively different."