Building a Better Teacher Appraisal and Development System: Draft Instructional Practice Rubric

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1 Building a Better Teacher Appraisal and Development System: Draft Instructional Practice Rubric As a part of the design process for HISD s new teacher appraisal system, the Instructional Practice working group, which is comprised of teachers, principals, and HISD staff, has been charged with building a set of performance indicators for the Instructional Practice appraisal criteria developed by the Shared Decision Making Committees (SDMCs) and District Advisory Committee (DAC). Developing a clear rubric to improve the accuracy of performance appraisals takes careful attention from many stakeholders and experts. The working group has made progress in building the rubric, yet there is more work to be done. The final Instructional Practice rubric will set standards for the skills and actions necessary to promote student achievement and assess a teacher s effectiveness within each criterion across four performance levels. The performance levels will range from 1 to 4, with a 3 describing the behaviors, actions, and/or outcomes of a teacher who is Effective in the specified criterion and a 4 describing a teacher who is Highly Effective in the criterion. For example, below is a draft set of indicators, across all performance levels for the Instructional Practice Criterion: Checks for student understanding and responds to student misunderstanding. Checks for student understanding and responds to student misunderstanding Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 These indicators best describe a teacher who is Ineffective at this criterion: These indicators describe a teacher who Needs Improvement in this criterion: The following indicators best describe a teacher who is Effective at this criterion: The following indications best describe a teacher who is Highly Effective at this criterion: 1. Teacher misses several key moments to check for student understanding, OR the teacher attempts to check for understanding, and the check is ineffective in assessing student understanding. 2. Teacher attempts to address student misunderstanding but the attempt is unsuccessful, OR the teacher does not address student misunderstanding. 3. Teacher provides limited or no feedback to students during the lesson, and it may be unclear to students if they correctly understand the content. 1. Teacher accurately checks for student understanding at multiple points during the lesson, although the teacher may miss one or more key moments. 2. Teacher addresses student misunderstanding in response to checks, although the strategy used may be mostly teacher-directed OR the flow of the lesson may be interrupted. 3. Teacher provides some feedback to students during the lesson, in response to checks for understanding, so that students know if they correctly understand the content. 1. Teacher checks for understanding and accurately diagnoses student misunderstanding at key moments during a lesson using a variety of methods. 2. Teacher adjusts lessons to ensure student understanding in response to assessments during the lesson and without interrupting the flow of the lesson. 3. Teacher provides feedback to students during the lesson that affirms correctly understood content, clarifies misunderstood content, and extends student thinking. 1. Teacher checks for student understanding during a lesson and gains a substantive awareness of students progress and needs in a lesson. 2. Teacher anticipates student misunderstandings and preemptively addresses them. 3. Teacher uses scaffolding techniques that enable students to construct their own understandings, rather than using teacher-directed strategies (e.g., reexplaining content). 4. Students self-assess and/or reflect on their understanding of objectives in order to provide feedback to the teacher. 1. Examples of checks for student understanding include quickly assessing student learning before moving on to the next step of the lesson, partially through independent practice, and at the end of the lesson through exit slips. 2. Student response to checks for understanding and adjustments to lessons are currently assessed under engagement criteria and Facilitates organized, student-centered, objective driven lesson indicators. 1

2 This handout includes the draft set of Level 3 performance indicators that the Instructional Practice working group has generated thus far for each criterion within the four Instructional Practice domains. Those domains are: Domain 1: Instruction Domain 2: Planning Domain 3: Engagement Domain 4: Classroom Environment These indicators are in draft form, and additional feedback from teachers, principals, appraisers and other stakeholders is essential so that the working group can build the best possible rubric for HISD. To do so, the working group will continue to draft the indicators and adjust based upon feedback gathered in public comment. Additionally, the district will engage focus groups of teachers and other practitioners in a review of the rubrics later this spring, prior to the Board of Education s review of the proposed system, to help inform the quality and rigor of the rubrics. Below are the draft Level 3 indicators for each criterion. The working group began by drafting the Level 3 indicators because those indicators will serve as the basis for defining what Effective teaching looks like in HISD. Once the rubric is complete, it will include indicators for all four performance levels for each criterion in the appraisal system. DRAFT INSTRUCTIONAL PRACTICE RUBRIC- Level 3 Indicators Domain 1: Instruction Facilitates organized, student-centered, objective driven lessons 1. Students demonstrate an understanding of the lesson s objective and what they will be doing in the lesson. 2. Students practice, apply, and demonstrate what they are learning during the lesson through meaningful learning activities. 3. Students articulate how their work will be assessed or what assessment their teacher is using to measure their learning. 4. Teacher facilitates a cohesive lesson in which all lesson elements are sequenced and organized in order to lead students toward mastery of the objective. 5. Teacher chooses instructional strategies that effectively teach lesson objectives. 6. Students demonstrate an understanding of lesson content and skills through correct responses in student work or by asking relevant clarification or extension questions. 1-3: Indicators should be assessed by direct observation of actions or comments of students during classroom visit. 2: For example, there should be a balance between teacher-directed and student-centered learning. 2

3 Checks for student understanding and responds to student misunderstanding 1. Teacher checks for understanding and accurately diagnoses student misunderstanding at key moments during a lesson using a variety of methods. 2. Teacher adjusts lesson to ensure student understanding in response to assessments during the lesson and without interrupting the flow of the lesson. 3. Teacher provides feedback to students during the lesson that affirms correctly understood content, clarifies misunderstood content, and extends student thinking. 1. Examples of checks for student understanding include quickly assessing student learning before moving on to the next step of the lesson, partially through the independent practice, and at the end of the lesson through exit slips. 2. Student response to checks for understanding and adjustments to lessons are currently assessed under Engagement criteria and Instruction - Facilitates organized, student-centered, objective driven lessons. Differentiates instruction for student needs by employing a variety of instructional strategies 1. Students engage with lesson content in more than one way (e.g., using more than one learning modality), as appropriate to lesson objectives and student learning profile. 2. Teacher adapts the depth, pace, and delivery mode of what is taught in a lesson to ensure students access the lesson at the appropriate level of challenge. 3. Teacher provides extra support, enrichment, or variation of work in order to meet the individual needs of each student. 4. Teacher strategically utilizes flexible instructional groups and varied instructional arrangements that are appropriate to the students and to the instructional purposes of the lesson. 5. Students engage in learning experiences or performance tasks that allow for interest-based choice in processes or products. 3. Includes meeting student modifications. Strategies might include, for example, flexible grouping, leveled texts, tiered assignments, providing more challenging or extension assignments, etc. 3

4 Engages students in work that develops higher level thinking skills 1. Teacher utilizes instructional strategies that give students opportunities to employ increasingly higher-level cognitive skills. 2. Students are provided with support and guidance (i.e., scaffolding) in order to exercise increasingly higher-level thinking skills. 3. Students demonstrate the use of increasingly higher-level thinking skills during classroom activities. 1. Examples of activities requiring higher-level cognitive skills include: solving problems with predictable and nonpredictable solutions, noticing patterns and finding relationships, generating hypotheses, planning tasks to address problems, generating reasonable arguments and explanations, predicting outcomes, assessing progress toward goals, communicating about learning, engaging in advanced level reading and writing tasks. 3. Examples of higher-level cognitive skills include: reflecting on learning, generating new insights, asking questions, making decisions, analysis, classifying, comparing, decision-making, evaluation, explaining, summarizing, synthesizing, solving problems. Communicates content and concepts to students 1. Teacher explains concepts and skills clearly and coherently. 2. Teacher conveys accurate information to students. 3. Teacher uses developmentally appropriate language and explanations. 4. Teacher emphasizes key points needed to master lesson objectives. Maximizes instructional time 1. Students engage in productive learning activities from the start of class until the end of class. 2. Students and teacher execute non-academic routines and procedures that minimize the loss of instructional time. 3. Teacher allocates time within a lesson by selecting high-impact instructional strategies that lead students to mastery of lesson objectives. 1-3: These indicators are intended to be distinct from the indicators in Classroom Environment Classroom Routines because this criterion focuses on the degree to which class time is maximized, as opposed to the execution of routines. 1. Students should be engaged in productive learning activities when not receiving direct instruction by the teacher (e.g., during small group work or after finishing assigned work). 4

5 Domain 2: Planning Develops student learning goals 1. Teacher develops annual student learning goals that are: a) aligned with appropriate Texas and HISD content standards and curricula, b) measurable using student assessments, c) ambitious given student skill levels at the beginning of the year, and d) differentiated to meet the needs of individual students and groups of students. 2. Teacher communicates annual learning goals to students and how those goals will be assessed. 3. Students demonstrate investment in achieving annual student learning goals. 1. Ambitious would be defined during appraiser training and would be aligned with district norms. Development of student learning goals may be assessed during conference period with teacher. 2. Appraisers should take into account the number of students that an individual teaches when evaluating the degree to which learning goals are individualized. While student learning goals should be always be aligned, measurable, and ambitious given student skill at the beginning of a year, an effective teacher in a departmentalized secondary classroom may have differentiated learning goals for groups of students rather than for individual students. Collects, tracks and uses student data to drive instruction 1. Teacher uses assessment data to determine student skill levels and develop annual student learning goals. 2. Teacher accurately determines student progress toward, and mastery of, unit objectives and annual student learning goals using multiple methods of assessment. 3. Teacher uses a system to track student assessment data, including individual student and class progress toward meeting unit objectives and annual learning goals. 4. Teacher analyzes student progress data on an ongoing basis and modifies lesson and unit plans appropriately. 5. Teacher uses analysis of student progress data to plan differentiated instruction including intervention and enrichment. 6. Students articulate their performance and progress relative to unit objectives and annual goals. 1-6: These indicators should be assessed through a review of annual, unit, and lesson plans during conference during an observation. 1. Assessment data could include diagnostic beginning of the year assessments and the previous year s end of year data. Diagnostic data may be obtained from statewide, district, school, or teacher-generated assessments. 5. This indicator is distinguished from the Instruction Differentiates Instruction for Student Needs criteria because it focuses on using data for planning rather than implementation of differentiated instruction. 6. This indicator would be assessed by the appraiser by asking students directly. 5

6 Designs lesson plans, units, and assessments The following indicators best describes a teacher who is Effective at this criterion: 1. Teacher plans units, objectives, and lessons that are tightly aligned to state standards and district curriculum requirements for student performance. 2. Teacher plans units and lessons by first selecting or developing assessments that will measure student mastery of unit learning objectives, and then designing lesson activities. 3. Teacher sequences lessons and objectives within a unit based on prerequisite relationships between concepts in order to ensure student mastery of key concepts and objectives. 4. Teacher allocates adequate time within a unit for students to master each objective while maintaining fidelity to state standards and district curriculum requirements. 1-4: Indicators may be assessed during beginning of year conference or during review of teacher unit and lesson plans. Demonstrates knowledge of content and pedagogy 1. Teacher designs and implements unit and lesson plans that emphasize key concepts or enduring understandings in the content area. 2. Teacher designs and implements unit and lesson plans that demonstrate vertical alignment with prior and future years state standards and district curriculum requirements. 3. Teacher designs and implements unit and lesson activities that employ developmentally appropriate learning strategies. 4. Teacher articulates a pedagogically relevant rationale for instructional choices made while designing lesson and unit plans. 1-2: Indicators may be assessed during beginning of year conference or during review of teacher unit and lesson plans. 4. For example, how objectives were sequenced, why choice of content or instructional strategies meet student needs. 6

7 Domain 3: Engagement Students expected to perform at high levels 1. Students demonstrate through formal and informal assessment performance and student work that they are on-track to meet unit objectives and annual and individual learning goals. 2. Teacher communicates and reinforces expectation that all students are expected to meet annual learning goals, and connects this achievement to students long-term or personal goals. 1-2: These indicators are intended to be distinct from the indicators in Classroom Environment Classroom Routines because this criterion focuses on the degree to which class time is maximized, as opposed to the execution of routines. 1. Students should be engaged in productive learning activities when not receiving direct instruction by the teacher (e.g., during small group work or after finishing assigned work). Students actively participating in lesson activities 1. Students are engaged during direct instruction as indicated by completion of instructional activities, responsiveness to questions, accurate following of teacher directions, and asking of appropriate questions. 2. Students display active effort and engagement in learning activities during independent and group work. 3. Students connect their own interests, perspectives, experiences or backgrounds to the lesson These indicators measure the degree of student engagement during an observed lesson. The degree to which students understand instructional content can be measured in Students expected to perform at high levels and Instruction - Facilitates organized, student-centered, objective driven lessons. 7

8 Domain 4: Classroom Environment Sets and implements classroom routines and procedures 1. Teacher effectively designs, teaches and reinforces consistent classroom routines and procedures. 2. Teacher implements efficient systems for performing non-instructional duties and procedures. 3. Students assume responsibility for routines and procedures, executing them in an orderly and efficient manner that requires little or no direction from the teacher In order to minimize overlap with the maximizes class time criteria, this set of indicators focuses on the execution of routines, and the other focuses on the use of class time. 2. For example, attendance, distributing or organizing materials, lining students up, and dismissal. Sets and implements discipline management procedures 1. Teacher develops and effectively implements district and campus discipline management procedures. 2. Teacher consistently communicates high behavioral expectations with students, addresses non-compliance, and reinforces appropriate behavior as needed. 3. Teacher maintains lesson momentum because there is no inappropriate or off-task behavior, or because the teacher redirects it in a subtle and preventative manner. 4. Teacher consistently follows-through on consequences that are logical and effective at changing student behavior, when necessary. 5. Students demonstrate a clear understanding of behavioral expectations and rules through their actions and require little or no redirection from the teacher. 1-3: Indicators should all be assessed during classroom observations. 3: Appraisers should use discretion in rating this indicator in extreme situations where the teacher needs to stop lesson momentum in order to safely and appropriately address student behavior. 8

9 Builds a positive, respectful classroom environment 1. Teacher demonstrates respect for all students and communicates and models positive expectations for interactions between students. 2. Teacher communicates and models expectations for respect of individual, cultural and linguistic differences between students. 3. Teacher encourages and reinforces positive student behavior and high-quality academic work. 4. Students actively listen and respond positively to each other and the teacher. 1-3: Indicators should all be assessed during classroom observations. 4. For example, students demonstrate interest in each other s perspectives and respond respectfully when a peer answers a question incorrectly. 9

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