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Student Growth Measures,

Teacher Evaluation: You May be More Prepared Than You Think

We've heard about it, we've talked about it, and now we've got to prepare for it: teacher evaluations are no longer a possibility; they are a reality.

The good news is, as educators, you are probably more prepared to be on the receiving of assessment than you think.

There are many components to the teacher evaluation systems that are being implemented across twenty-six states. I want to take a moment to talk about one of the key components, and it's a biggie; student growth. Many educators are intimidated by the idea of showing student growth in the classroom. I say, I bet you're already doing this and don't even realize it.

The concept of standards-based education revolves around three keys: Align, Assess, and Achieve. These keys unlock the pathway to measuring student growth. When you align your curriculum by examining Enduring Understandings, focusing on Essential Questions, and creating clear Learning Targets, you are laying the foundation to measure student growth because you know where you are heading.

The second key is to assess. In creating sound assessments that show evidence of student learning, you have the data you need. These assessments can be both formal and informal. The big idea is that you are leading with learning, so the assessments you've created are a reflection of the learning targets that students have been working toward mastering. You know if students are "getting it" because you have the evidence to prove it. Your assessment data isn't clouded by a behavior-driven point system; your assessments are a reflection of the learning that occurs in the classroom.

The third key unlocks the wonder of learning when students achieve. In a classroom where the align and assess keys are in place, student involvement increases, differentiated instruction is in place, and there are sound grading practices which focus on descriptive feedback. Then the assessment data which surrounds the learning targets provides the lens through which to foster student achievement.

As educators, we want all of our students to achieve their maximum potential and a standards-based classroom provides a foundation for ensuring this. Time and again in our trainings, I have seen teachers progress from confusion or apprehension about formative assessment, standards-based grading, or assessment to confident, enthusiastic practitioners. We have worked with many districts to update their grading practices and the revolution is amazing. When your stomach is in knots as you think about an upcoming evaluation, take a deep breath and ask yourself a couple of key questions: Do I lead with learning? How do make sure my grading practices reflect learning (not behavior)? With the three keys, Align, Assess, and Achieve, you have the components of a remarkable classroom AND a stellar evaluation.

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