New Assumption #4: General > Specific

Teacher evaluation rubrics are a tool to guide teams through processes of inquiry. They should be broad and customizable to local schools, anchored in collaborative processes, focusing on the few things that matter most to increase adult professional learning and student achievement: collaboration, data analysis, goal setting, problem solving and progress monitoring. In essence, a professional learning community.

Future rubrics should be living documents that shift and change as the needs of the teachers and students shift and change. In those documents, the terms and concepts used should be broad and possibly have multiple meanings, based on the context of the local school and areas of development for individual teachers and teams. Open-ended documents will allow principals to focus on the inputs of effective teaching in order to have greater influence on the outputs.

With a de-emphasis of endless specialized skills will come a welcome shortening of evaluation documents. Teachers do not need pages upon pages of bullet points emphasizing effective teaching that may or may not be relevant to their needs or needs of their students. Instead, the documents should be tools that incorporate elements of a professional learning community, emphasizing trends in current research, guiding teachers, teams and the administration through processes of collective inquiry.

New Assumption #5: Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Today's evaluations assume a teacher's communication to students in front of the class is the only thing that matters. This new assumption values conversations, discussions and interactions among teachers and between teachers and principals. New evaluation models will encourage the creation of systematic standard operating procedures around these conversations. The new documents will serve as a guide and communication tool to set goals, discuss programing, assess, implement and change. Teachers and principals discuss what is working and what is not working. In the process, any documentation teachers or principals needed to have will be there ready for review.

The most cutting-edge research tells us that "Collective efficacy is increased through collaborative learning structures" (Donahoo, 2017, p. 54). Using evaluation documents to communicate, not just document, will provide a structured way to ensure that teachers are asking the right questions, collectively solving problems, building cohesion, learning about and from one another, setting goals, spreading their influence and creating learning environments and tasks that meet student needs.