For purposes of the teacher evaluation process, the following terms are defined below:


  1. 21st Century Education— An education that enables students to navigate the complex life and work environment in the globally competitive age. This is further explained on page 2 of McREL’s Teacher Evaluation System.

  2. Action Plan— A plan developed by a principal/supervisor with input from the teacher for the purpose of articulating specific actions and outcomes needed in order to improve the teacher’s performance.

  3. Artifact— A product resulting from a teacher’s work. Artifacts are natural by-products of a teacher’s work and are not created for the purpose of satisfying evaluation requirements. Artifacts are used only when the principal/evaluator and teacher disagree on the final rating. Teachers may use them as exemplars of their work. Examples of artifacts include these:

    1. Lesson Plans— Teacher’s daily plans that demonstrate integration of 21st-century skills and coverage of the districts approved curriculum.

    2. Professional Development— Staff development, based on research, data, practice, and reflection that focuses on deepening knowledge and pedagogical skills in a collegial and collaborative environment.

    3. Student Dropout Data— Data about grade 9–12 students who drop out of high school.

    4. School Improvement Plan— A plan that includes strategies for improving student performance, how and when improvements will be implemented, use of state funds, requests for waivers, etc. Plans are in effect for no more than three years. Teachers should be able to demonstrate their participation in the development of the plan and/or their active support of the plan.

    5. School Improvement Team— A team composed of the principal and representatives of administration, instructional personnel, instructional support personnel, teacher assistants, and parents of children enrolled in the school. The team’s purpose is to develop a school improvement plan to strengthen student performance.

  4. Data— Factual information used as the basis for reasoning, discussion, or planning.

  5. Evaluator— The person responsible for overseeing and completing McREL’s Teacher Evaluation System. This is usually the school principal, but it may be someone who is designated by the principal to assume these responsibilities.

  6. Evidence— Documents that demonstrate or confirm the work of the person being evaluated and support the rating on a given element.

  7. Formal Evaluation Process— The process of evaluating a teacher using the following essential components:

    1. Training— State-approved and sponsored training on the Teacher Evaluation Rubric and McREL’s Teacher Evaluation System is required of all teachers and those individuals responsible for teacher evaluations.

    2. Orientation— It is recommended that the principal will provide the teacher with a copy of or directions for obtaining access to the following: a) Teacher Evaluation Rubric, b) the local policy governing teacher evaluations, and c) a schedule for completing all the components of the evaluation process. Copies may be provided by electronic means. While a formal meeting is not required, principals may choose to hold this orientation as a group meeting at the beginning of each school year and/or individually as staff is added throughout the year.

    3. Teacher Self-Assessment— Using the Teacher Evaluation Rubric, the teacher shall rate his or her own performance at the beginning of the year and reflect on his or her performance throughout the year. This will also be used during the post-observation conference.

    4. Pre-Observation Conference— Before the first formal observation, the principal shall meet with the teacher to discuss the teacher’s self-assessment based on the Teacher Evaluation Rubric, the teacher’s most recent Professional Development Plan, and the lesson(s) to be observed. The teacher will provide the principal with a written description of the lesson(s). The goal of this conference is to prepare the principal for the observation. Pre-Observation conferences are not required for subsequent observations.

    5. Observations:

      1. Formal Observation— A formal observation shall last an entire class period.

      2. Informal Observation— An informal observation may take place as an evaluator visits classrooms, helps a student, or “drops in” on the teacher’s classroom for a minimum of 20 minutes in one sitting.

    6. Post-Observation Conference— During the post-observation conference, the principal and teacher shall discuss and document on the Teacher Evaluation Rubric the strengths and weaknesses of the teacher’s performance during the observed lesson.

    7. Summary Evaluation Conference and Teacher Summary Evaluation Rating Form— The conference between the principal and teacher to discuss the teacher’s self-assessment, the teacher’s most recent Professional Development Plan, the components of McREL’s Teacher Evaluation System completed during the year, classroom observations, artifacts submitted or collected during the evaluation process and other evidence of the teacher’s performance. At the conclusion of the process, the principal shall complete the Teacher Summary Evaluation Rating Form.

    8. Professional Development Plans— Every teacher will use a Professional Development Plan to identify goals and strategies to improve performance. The Professional Development Plan may be a(n):

      1. Individual Professional Development Plan— Developed by a teacher and should be discussed with the principal.

      2. Monitored Professional Development Plan— Placed on the plan by the principal, developed and monitored by the teacher and principal.

      3. Directed Professional Development Plan— Placed on the plan by the principal, developed and monitored by the principal.

  8. New Teachers— Teachers who are in the first four years of teaching.

  9. Peer— A teacher who serves as a mentor for the teacher being evaluated and who provides performance feedback based on the Teacher Evaluation Rubric

  10. Performance Rating Scale— The following rating scale will be used for determining the final evaluation rating:

    1. "Developing"—  Teacher demonstrated adequate growth toward achieving standard(s) during the period of performance but did not demonstrate competence on standard(s) of performance.

    2. "Proficient"—  Teacher demonstrated basic competence on standard(s) of performance.

    3. "Accomplished"—  Teacher exceeded basic competence on standard(s) of performance most of the time.

    4. "Distinguished"— Teacher consistently and significantly exceeded basic competence on standard(s) of performance.

    5. "Not Demonstrated"—  Teacher did not demonstrate competence on or adequate growth toward achieving standard(s) of performance. (Note: If the Not Demonstrated  rating is used, the Principal/Evaluator must comment about why it was used.)

  11. Professional Learning Community— A school culture in which teachers work collectively and collaboratively to examine instructional practice, improve their effectiveness, and increase student achievement.

  12. Seasoned Teachers— Teachers who have been teaching for five years or more.  

  13. Self-assessment— Personal reflection about one’s professional practice to identify strengths and areas for improvement conducted without input from others. Purposes of the self-assessment are to clarify performance expectations, guide discussions about goal-setting and professional development and program needs, and provide input to the final ratings.

  14. Teacher— A person who holds a valid teaching certificate and is employed to instruct, direct, or supervise the instructional program.

  15. Teacher Evaluation Rubric— A composite matrix of the following standards, elements, and descriptors of the Professional Teaching Standards:

    1. Performance Standard— The distinct aspect of teaching or realm of activities which form the basis for the evaluation of a teacher.

    2. Performance Elements— The sub-categories of performance embedded within the performance standard.

    3. Performance Descriptors— The specific performance responsibilities embedded within the components of each performance standard.