Source: Image of rubric, Fair Use, http://www.boardofed.idaho.gov/board_initiatives/Education_Improvement_Taskforce/06-07-13/FfT%20ASCD_Rubric.pdf
In this tutorial, we'll discuss the use of rubrics as metrics for measuring competency-based professional development goals. Just as it's important to us to measure student performance, it's also important that we measure teacher performance or that we measure attainment of our professional development goals. One way to do this is to set competency-based professional development goals and then evaluate teacher progress towards meeting those goals using competency-based metrics.
Rather than developing these goals using any curricular or content area standards, instead, professional development goals and metrics are going to be based on professional teacher standards. No matter which standards they're based on, evaluation tools are going to facilitate assessment in competency-based professional development.
We want to use evaluation tools that provide us with clear ways for showing or describing teachers' competency levels. Rubrics are definitely the most commonly used evaluation tool when we're talking about evaluating teacher competency against those professional teaching standards. In fact, some teacher evaluation models, including models that are based on the Danielson Framework, actually include rubrics that you can use right away as they are or that you can adapt to meet the needs of your particular school or district.
In general terms, a rubric includes one or more criteria with different achievement levels or proficiency levels described for each criteria. An analytic rubric is going to include multiple criteria that are all evaluated separately, while a holistic rubric is going to give an overall evaluation of proficiency or achievement. And so it's going to include just a single scale that summarizes all of those relevant criteria.
Rubrics may be used by individual teachers for the purpose of self-evaluation. But they can also easily be used by multiple teachers to provide feedback to each other.
Let's walk through the process of using a competency-based rubric that has already been created. We'll use a rubric from Charlotte Danielson's Framework for Teaching. This rubric is focused on Domain 1, Planning & Preparation, and Component 1a, Demonstrating Knowledge of Content & Pedagogy.
The three elements in Component 1a are listed as criteria in the leftmost column of the rubric. And four different proficiency or performance levels are described across the top row of the rubric.
So if a teacher has been participating in professional development activities that are focused on this domain and this component, then a peer or evaluator or instructional coach could observe that teacher and then use this rubric in order to indicate that teacher's levels of performance for all three of the individual elements.
For example, the observer could watch for evidence of the teacher's knowledge of prerequisite relationships. Each proficiency level includes a detailed description that will help the observer to select the most appropriate rating for each of the elements in the rubric.
You may find that the rubrics that are included in your teacher evaluation model may fit your needs perfectly. But if that's not the case, it's important to note that you can modify or adapt rubrics to meet your particular needs.
You can adapt a rubric in order to be an effective component of your professional development design by modifying any of its parts. You can replace some or all of the criteria. You can choose different words or numbers to represent the varying proficiency or performance levels. You can modify the individual descriptions to better suit your preferences.
And after you've made sure that your adapted rubric really meets your needs, you could then even use that rubric for some self-reflection at any time to measure your own level of proficiency or mastery in regards to that specific competency. In fact, you can do this as a follow-up to a professional development activity just to monitor your own progress.
Any time that you're using a rubric, there are some best practices that you can observe. First, be sure that the rubric includes only the skills or standards that you actually want to directly measure, or the specific areas for which you want to provide feedback.
Review the rubric before you use it to make sure that it really is going to measure what you want it to measure. Teachers should be familiar with the rubrics that are going to be applied to them. So make sure that they receive the rubrics well ahead of time and that they have the opportunity to review those rubrics in advance. In fact, another best practice is to actually walk through each rubric with the involved teachers to ensure that they understand it.
Also, consider whether the professional development is going to be used as part of a teacher's evaluation. If it is, then the rubrics can be used in the evaluation process. If not, then the rubrics should not be used for evaluative purposes. Instead, they should be used to provide helpful feedback for improvement as teachers work towards mastering the new skills or strategies from the professional development.
Finally, let's talk through the process of developing a rubric. It's helpful to use teacher work samples to guide the process of developing your performance level descriptors. You can take teacher work samples and sort them into categories that would most closely relate to the varying performance levels. And then you'll assign each of these groups of work a descriptor that would connect it to the varying levels of achievement on the task or the assignment.
So you'll think about, what would a beginning assignment look like compared to what a basic assignment would look like? And these descriptors, then, are going to run the scale from low all the way to high performance.
There should be overall three or four groups that indicate this range. It could be just using a number system, like 1 through 4, with 4 being the highest level of performance. Or you might use a series of words that describe the categories, like novice, intermediate, and advanced. Some numbered scales are going to start with 1. Others will start with 0, which would just indicate that you didn't complete the task or you didn't perform at all.
Another helpful tip here is that you may want to avoid an odd number of categories because evaluators can have a tendency to choose the middle option regardless of whether that's the most accurate description of the performance. And finally, you don't want to include more than about six different columns in your rubric because then it really becomes too difficult to determine the appropriate classification.
Next, we'll identify which performance characteristics or elements or criteria are going to be evaluated. Your rubric may contain anywhere from 3 to about 15 different performance elements. And each of these elements needs to focus on a different skill or a different area that will be evaluated.
Finally, you'll write all of those detailed performance-level descriptions. A best practice is to begin by describing the highest performance level for each criteria, and then work towards the lower levels by systematically changing the language that you included.
So each description needs to be clearly distinguished from the one above it and the one below it. You can accomplish this through the use of descriptive language, through measurable criteria, through any distinguishing characteristics. It just needs to be clear how the different levels of performance differ and what each specific level entails.
You might want to use language scales to help you here. For example, rarely to always, or minor to major. These descriptors should be as objective as possible and as measurable as possible. In other words, avoid subjective descriptors that would make it hard for evaluators to distinguish between the varying performance levels or to justify the decisions that they're making as they go through the evaluation.
A final tip here is to perhaps use some parallelism or parallel language. This means that the same basic sentence structure is used for each of the descriptors for a given criteria, but you vary the adjectives or the measurable components. And this makes it easier to compare that one criteria across the varying performance levels. And finally, try to fit your rubric on to just a single sheet of paper.
So here's a chance for you to stop and reflect. Try your hand at developing a competency-based rubric to measure your progress towards a particular professional development goal.
For more information on how to apply what you learned in this video, please view the additional resources section that accompanies this video presentation. The additional resources section includes hyperlinks useful for applications of the course material, including a brief description of each resource. Thanks for watching. Have a great day.
(00:00 - 00:07) Introduction
(00:08 - 02:17) Rubrics as Metrics for PD Impact
(02:18 - 04:36) Using a Competency Based Rubric
(04:37 - 05:47) Best Practices
(05:48 - 09:25) Developing a Rubric
(09:26 - 09:58) Stop and Reflect
A Rubric for Competency Education
In this CompetencyWorks resource, Paul Leather provides a step by step guide for creating a competency-based measurement tool in education.