High School English Teacher Flunks Danielson Framework!

Dear Commons Community,

New York City high school English teacher, Tim Clifford, voiced his concerns about the new rubric for evaluating teachers in New York State. In a New York Times online article he gives the new framework an “F”.

As background, the New York State Education Department is establishing the  Danielson Framework as  the basis of teacher observations in New York State. It features 54 pages of rubrics that  attempt to evaluate teaching.

The version on the New York State Education Department Web site consists of 54 pages of rubrics, examples and explanations.

It breaks teaching down into four “domains”: Planning and Preparation, Classroom Environment, Instruction, and Professional Responsibilities. These are further divided into “elements,” of which there are 22.

Each element then lists criteria by which the teacher will be judged as Unsatisfactory, Basic, Proficient or Distinguished. For example, here is what a teacher must do to be considered Distinguished on the very first entry on the rubric, 1A: Demonstrating Knowledge of Content and Pedagogy:

Teacher displays extensive knowledge of the important concepts in the discipline and how these relate both to one another and to other disciplines. Teacher’s plans and practice reflect understanding of prerequisite relationships among topics and concepts and a link to necessary cognitive structures by students to ensure understanding. Teacher’s plans and practice reflect familiarity with a wide range of effective pedagogical approaches in the discipline, anticipating student misconceptions. (Page 2 of 54)

That’s only 1A. There are 21 more elements.

In Clifford’s view, this rubric is far too complicated to be of real use. To quote:

“I don’t think it’s possible to design and execute a lesson, or even a series of lessons, that would touch on all the elements required to deem a teacher Distinguished. I doubt Charlotte Danielson could do it, either. What this framework does is create anxiety for teachers who try to meet all 22 “elements” in the span of a 45-minute lesson, day in and day out.”



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