It should go without saying that the leading American reform du jour is to construct educator (particularly teacher) evaluation systems that use student achievement as a significant component of the evaluation.

The exact components in creating such systems remain a work in progress across the country and always involve significant trade-offs (e.g. efficiency vs. authenticity; complexity vs. understandability; generalizability vs. specificity).  As if designing such systems in schools across the entire country weren’t complex enough, public policy decisions are also already driving how these (still largely experimental) systems are going to be used for things like teacher accountability, dismissal, licensure, and compensation.

Here in our district, Eagle County Schools, this organization has been working on these systems for nearly a decade.  While I think our system is stronger than many being proposed nationally, it is still very much a work in progress and a journey.

This post is not intended to argue the prudence of this work nor is it intended to prognosticate about the probability of this sort of reform resulting in dramatic improvements in educator quality.  It is intended to recognize that, like it or not, much of the country is currently engaged in designing these sort of systems and we can benefit from practical lessons learned from experience.

As our educators wade (yet again) into the work of redesigning an evaluation system, there are some key design elements that we might keep in mind so that the “right drivers” (to steal Michael Fullan’s words) are at the center of these efforts.

As it may be helpful to other educators and school leaders engaged in this work, I present the design principles I’ve asked our educators to hold close as they go about the construction (or re-construction in our case) of a compliant evaluation system.

Please see the link below for the design principles we are using in Eagle County.  As always, I appreciate and look forward to any feedback you might have.

Design Principles for Evaluation Systems