• Stronge Teacher Evaluation System

    Written by James H. Stronge, College of William and Mary

    Briefly describe your model.

    FEATURE 1: Teacher Performance Standards. Performance standards are the job responsibilities or duties performed by a teacher; consequently, the performance standards represent the major job responsibilities that a teacher fulfills. A number of years ago I advocated a set of 20 or so standards for use in teacher evaluation. However, after field-testing this system with many organizations over numerous years, I became convinced that this design simply isn’t practical. Thus, I moved to a more simplified set of standards that retains the diagnostic profile of teacher performance, with seven teacher performance standards included in the version of my system that is being piloted in New Jersey:

    Performance Standard 1: Professional Knowledge

    The teacher has an understanding of the curriculum, subject content, pedagogical knowledge, and the developmental needs of students

    Performance Standard 2: Instructional Planning

    The teacher plans using the state standards, district curriculum, effective strategies, resources, and data.

    Performance Standard 3: Instructional Delivery

    The teacher uses a variety of effective instructional strategies in order to meet individual learning needs.

    Performance Standard 4: Assessment of/for Learning

    The teacher uses a variety of formative and summative assessment strategies and data.

    Performance Standard 5: Learning Environment

    The teacher provides a well-managed, safe, student-centered, academic environment that is conducive to learning.

    Performance Standard 6: Professionalism and Communication

    The teacher maintains a commitment to professional ethics and professional growth and effective communication with all stakeholders.


    Performance Standard 7: Student Progress

    The instructional efforts of the teacher result in acceptable, measurable student progress based on established standards and goals.

    FEATURE 2: Documenting Performance. Given the complexity of a teacher’s work, attempting to document the work with one method or data source simply isn’t sensible. Instead, using multiple data sources as found in my evaluation system can provide for a comprehensive and authentic “performance portrait” of the teacher’s work (Figure 1).

    FEATURE 3: Rating Performance. My evaluation system uses a four-point rating scale to provide a description of how well the teacher performance standards are attained. The four levels – Exemplary, Proficient, Developing/Needs Improvement, and Unacceptable – are clearly defined through Performance Appraisal Rubrics.

    Where has the model been used and what data support its efficacy?

    My teacher (as well as principal and educational specialist) evaluation model has been extensively field tested over the past 20+ years across many settings in the U.S. and abroad. Some of the places where the system has been (or is being used) include:

    • School districts throughout the United States
    • State or regional organizations – e.g., Virginia Department of Education, Georgia Department of Education, Louisiana Department of Education, Wisconsin CESA 6 (statewide aimed initiative)
    • Other educational organizations – e.g., Appalachia Regional Comprehensive Center (five-state federally-funded consortium), Association of American Schools in South America (teacher evaluation designed for international American schools funded by the Overseas Schools Advisory Committee and supported by the U.S. Department of State).

    What is your definition of good teaching?

    Thus, the framework for my teacher evaluation system begins with an understanding of what is effective teaching. And the framework that I build upon for designing and implementing my teacher evaluation system is drawn from the empirical research on teacher effectiveness that is synthesized in my Supervision and Curriculum Development book, Qualities of Effective Teachers.

    How does the teacher evaluation model promote a collaborative environment among educators?

    There is an emphasis on designing the evaluation system through a collaborative process in which teachers play a fundamental role. Additionally, the actual implementation of the evaluation system calls on both teachers and their evaluators to collaborate in the collection and review of evidence around teacher work. Additionally, teachers are encouraged to collaborate with one another via practices such as instructional planning, student achievement goal setting, and building professional expertise.

    How does the model differ from the other models that are part of the New Jersey pilot?

    There are many quality features in the evaluation models and work designed by other evaluation designers. However, if I had to highlight features that best characterize my evaluation system, I would identify:

    • A simplified set of seven well-defined and solidly research-based teacher performance standards
    • The integration of multiple data sources, including teacher-collected and evaluator-collected data
    • A paradigm for teacher evaluation that balances teaching processes with teaching results
    • A focus on student success.

    How does the model assure quality training of administrators and teachers?

    There is a comprehensive support system for both administrator-evaluators and teachers, including:

    • Orientation training for teacher leaders and administrators
    • Onsite professional development support and training on inter-rater reliability
    • An extensive library of training and support materials, including a series of books on teacher effectiveness
    • Support through the pilot implementation and beyond.

    How does your model incorporate the use of student standardized tests scores?

    Less than 30 percent of New Jersey teachers will have state-generated student achievement growth data available. For all teachers, it is essential – and fair - to have other measures for documenting their contributions to student success. To measure the outcomes of teaching I have built a system for documenting student growth through two prominent measures:

    • Setting student achievement goals and monitoring progress based on those goals, and
    • Applying student growth scores to document student achievement growth in a particular teacher’s class (i.e., Student Growth Percentiles or SGP).

    Finally, school reform doesn’t happen in the State House or the White House. It doesn’t occur at the school board level or even at the school, for the most part. The foundation upon which a teacher evaluation system is built is that the classroom -- not the school -- is the place where we must focus for improved student performance. When one teacher improves her or his capacity to help students learn, then – and only then – does school improvement occur. And the reason is quite simple: teacher success equals student success.

    For more information on the Stronge model, email jhstro@wm.edu.