How sophisticated is your teacher? This is the question many teachers will be asked starting in fall 2012. New teaching standards and teacher evaluations will be rolled out in Arizona and in many other states. New teacher evaluations will be based on the InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards. These standards are comprised of three distinct components that describe the complexities of the teaching process, Critical Disposition, Essential Knowledge and Performance.
In the past, teacher evaluations have focused almost exclusively on observable classroom performance and data resulting from standardized tests. Seldom were teachers asked to provide a rationale that supported their instructional decisions, planning or lesson delivery. The new InTASC standards have been written to reveal the many layers of thought and planning that go into what may appear to be a simple classroom lesson.
Essential Knowledge and Critical Dispositions are now along side Performance as components vital to demonstrating mastery of each standard. Essential Knowledge is not just knowing the academic content, but knowing how students learn content. Critical Dispositions get to the heart of what drives teachers. They reveal a sense of purposeful decision making and reflecting by the teacher.
All three of these components have different degrees of sophistication. From novice teachers to very accomplished teachers all will be able to use these professional practice standards to reveal the complexity of their teaching practice.
Sophisticated can also mean complicated and teaching is certainly a complicated art form to assess. It will be interesting to see the different types of evaluations that are created by school districts and what will be emphasized in the teacher evaluation process.