APPR/Teacher Evaluation, Professional Development
October 23, 2012

The TED Toolkit

Source: NYSUT Research and Educational Services
TED Handbook

Essential TED Resources

Overview of TED: Advancing Excellence Through Teacher Evaluation

Please note: The TED Handbook is currently being updated to reflect changes incorporated in the NYSUT Teacher Practice Rubric (Revised 2012). An updated version of the TED Handbook will be posted as soon as it is available.

A quality system of teacher evaluation and development relies on teaching standards aligned with performance rubrics; multiple measures of professional practice and student achievement, capable of capturing evidence of a broad range of competencies; and support for continual professional growth. But too often evaluation systems, not only in New York State but also across the country, have in practice been cumbersome, punitive, and ultimately poor differentiators of teaching skill. Such systems were seldom uniformly implemented and evaluators were often poorly trained. Teachers rarely had the opportunity to leverage what was often limited feedback into meaningful professional development that could improve student outcomes.

[2011 TED Handbook and Workbook Order Form]

The TED system avoids such shortcomings and focuses on teacher growth and student learning. Informed by extensive research, Innovation Teams determined that an effective evaluation system should:

  • Improve instructional and professional practice to advance student achievement;
  • Lead directly to teachers' continuous, focused professional development and growth by addressing their skills, knowledge and needs at all levels on a career continuum, from novice to veteran;
  • Provide opportunities for teachers to use multiple sources of evidence of effective teaching and student learning;
  • Illuminate the context in which professional practice takes place;
  • Empower both evaluators and teachers with clear, actionable information;
  • Ensure fair and valid employment decisions and due process; and
  • Invite participants into the development, revision and continuous improvement of the system.

Effective evaluation systems in the 21st century have the potential to revolutionize teacher career development and stem the tide of attrition that has eroded the stability of the teaching force. The labor/management collaboration that has distinguished the Innovation Teams' work models the collaborative potential of teachers and evaluators engaged in professional conversation and constructive professional development. As the U.S. Department of Education notes in its New Compact for Student Success, administrators and teachers can build on the strength of these partnerships and "use it as a vehicle to uphold rigorous academic standards, elevate the teaching profession, drive school and instructional improvement, and make student achievement the heart of their relationship."

TED was informed by research that suggests effective teachers drive their students' achievement through three specific behaviors (Conley, 2011; Tharp, et al, 2000; and Hackman, 2004):

Effective teachers demand the cognitive engagement of students by:

  • Constructing challenging, intellectual tasks;
  • Varying their instructional styles to reach every learner;
  • Cultivating independent thinking, self-regulation and motivation; and
  • Fostering goal-setting and student responsibility for learning.

Effective teachers demonstrate a constructivist teaching practice by:

  • Leading classrooms that are intensely engaged in discussion, inquiry, and exploration that build shared understanding;
  • Understanding learners as complex, social beings with values, prior knowledge, and unique dispositions;
  • Creating authentic assessments;
  • Emphasizing learner choice and learner control;
  • Utilizing constructive feedback; and
  • Focusing on knowledge construction, not reproduction.

Effective teachers emphasize the development of 21st century skills by:

  • Embedding opportunities for problem-solving, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, multiple perspectives;
  • Encouraging the use of technology and digital literacies; and
  • Promoting global awareness, interactive communication, and the effective use of real-world tools.

What TED is

TED is an accessible and integrated strategy for teacher evaluation and development based on research into what works to advance teacher growth and student learning. With the goal of ensuring an effective teacher for every learner, TED includes these essential components:

  • Teaching standards expressed as a teacher practice rubric.
  • Multiple measures of teacher professional practice and student achievement, capable of capturing a broad range of competences.
  • Illuminating the conditions affecting teaching and learning.
  • Locally negotiated systems of Peer Assistance and Review.
  • Targeted, individual teacher professional learning plans and opportunities for professional growth.
  • Guidelines for system implementation.

TED is comprehensive - applicable to all classroom educators across all grade levels and useful for the continuum of a teacher's career, from beginner to veteran. It is also flexible, enabling school districts to engage in the collective bargaining process to tailor teacher evaluation and development to meet local needs. Elements of the system have been designed with this flexibility for negotiation in mind - from the number of observations to the distribution of points and scoring options. Collective bargaining ensures the district's evaluation process can be shaped to meet local professional needs.

TED is fully supported by the TED Handbook [Order Form]; the TED Workbook [Order Form], which contains evidence collection and scoring forms and guidance; and by a wealth of web resources. As detailed in Chapters IV and V, TED is aligned with the New York State Teaching Standards and relies on the use of the Teacher Practice Rubric, designed by labor/management Innovation Teams to assist teacher and evaluator in conducting constructive, objective conversations on professional practice and its impact on student learning. As a result, TED clearly establishes teachers as participants in, not recipients of, their own evaluations. TED emphasizes the use of multiple measures for both teacher professional practice and student achievement, a research-supported strategy essential for quality evaluations and embedded in New York State law. It also supports teachers and evaluators in making thoughtful and constructive assessments of the conditions for teaching and learning, both as a necessary context for evaluations and as a foundation for strengthening the myriad conditions that impact student achievement.

Significantly, TED defines evaluations not as culminating events, but as stepping stones to continual professional development. TED integrates sustained professional development into the annual continuum of evaluation and also details the elements of quality programs of Peer Assistance and Review that may be bargained collectively to strengthen and advance teacher professional growth.

Additionally, the TED system emphasizes the importance of training evaluators and stakeholders in the standards, rubric and language of objective, constructive evaluations. No system of evaluation and development can succeed without the support of comprehensively trained evaluators. TED emphasizes the need for evaluator training, and particularly, for training on the professional conversations that should characterize the interactions between evaluators and teachers. As labor/management teams field-tested TED in school districts, they began each pilot with systematic training of evaluators and stakeholders to establish a shared language and understanding of state standards and the rubric, which undergird this system.