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Robert J.


Art & Science of Teaching

The Principals Role in Hierarchical Evaluation

istrict leadership, school leadership, The first five domains relate directly to similar
In a fully
and teacher actions are all working domains in the next level downthe school
parts in a complex system of inter- leadership level. (The sixth domain is only rel-
acting influences that positively affect student evant at the district level.)
achievementif they function in harmony. In a Consider Domain 1 of the district leader
misaligned system, even if individual initiatives evaluation model: a data-driven focus on district
within schools, districts, and classrooms are achievement. This directly relates to Domain 1
system, district
well executed, they tend to cancel one another of the school leader evaluation model: a data-
out. driven focus on school achievement. The two
leaders, school
One powerful way to ensure that the com- domains are clearly aligned.
ponents of the entire system are aligned is to For example, in Domain 1, the district leader
leaders, and
use hierarchical evaluation: must ensure that the district
District leaders are evaluated has clear and measurable
teachers define
on the extent to which they goals that focus on student
produce specific results in achievement and growth,
the right work in
the actions of school leaders, that schools regularly use
school leaders are evaluated data to monitor student
the same way.
on the extent to which they progress, and that programs
produce specific results in and practices are in place to
the actions of teachers, and help all students meet indi-
teachers are evaluated on vidual achievement goals
the extent to which they when data indicate that
produce specific results in interventions are needed.
student achievement. A district leader might set a
A hierarchical evaluation goal that the average scores
system has two defining in the district for student
characteristics: cascading domains of influence growth will increase by a specific amount in
and common rubric structures. the next year. Throughout the year, the district
leader would monitor not only the districts
Cascading Domains of Influence progress on this goal, but also the progress of
Robert J. Marzano is In a hierarchical evaluation system, major cat- individual schools, paying particular attention
cofounder and CEO
egories of evaluation at higher levels directly to schools with greater populations of struggling
of Marzano Research
Laboratory in Denver,
influence categories at lower levels. In this students. For these schools, the district leader
Colorado, and executive model, district leadership occupies the highest would examine their use of resources, providing
director of the Learning level, followed by school leadership, then extra assistance if necessary.
Sciences Marzano teacher activity, and finally, the achievement of The corresponding domain for the school
Center in Palm Beach individual students. leader evaluation model highlights similar
Gardens, Florida. The district leader model includes six cat- responsibilities relating to data use and school
He is coauthor, with egories, or domains of influence, that the leader achievement, but at the school level. For
Michael Toth, of Teacher
will be evaluated on: (1)a data-driven focus on example, school leaders are expected to have
Evaluation That Makes a
Difference: A New Model district achievement, (2)continual improvement clear and measureable goals for the achievement
for Teacher Growth and of instruction, (3)a guaranteed and viable cur- of the school as a whole, as well as for indi-
Student Achievement riculum, (4)cooperation and collaboration, vidual students, and theyre expected to monitor
(ASCD, 2013). (5)district climate, and (6)resource allocation. data regarding the achievement of these goals.
Greg Mably

82 Educational Leadership / April 2013

Marzano.indd 82 3/1/13 8:51 PM

In addition, school leaders must ensure significant error. The administrator who Doing the Right Work
that programs are in placesuch sets growth goals and analyzes data Richard Elmore1 has noted that the core
as tutoring in basic vocabulary and relative to those goals throughout the of effective leadership is knowing the
language development for struggling year would be operating at the devel- right thing to do. In a fully aligned,
English language learnersto help oping level. hierarchical system, district leaders,
students who arent making adequate The score of applying indicates that school leaders, and teachers define
progress toward their goals. the district leader, school leader, or the right work in precisely the same
teacher not only executes a specific way. Ultimately, district leaders stand
Common Rubric Structures desired behavior without error, but atop the pyramid of responsibility and
In a hierarchical system, the district also monitors the effect of the behavior, are evaluated on the extent to which
leader, school leader, and teacher evalu- making corrections as needed. The they provide necessary support for
ation rubrics should use the same scale administrator who sets growth goals, their school leaders, who are, in turn,
levels. I propose the following ones: not systematically analyzes data, and then evaluated on the extent to which they
using, beginning, developing, applying, and monitors the actions and behavior of provide the necessary support for
innovating. those charged with producing student teachers, who are, in turn, evaluated
A score of not using indicates that growth would be operating at the on the extent to which they positively
a specific behavior isnt employed. applying level. influence student learning.
The score of beginning indicates that a Finally, the score of innovating indi- No one works in isolation; all adults
desired behavior is attempted but is not cates that the district leader, school in the system share responsibility.
completed or contains errors and omis- leader, or teacher is making adapta- Empowerment to improve must cascade
sions. An administrator who attempts tions to ensure that all constituents down from district administrators, to
to set yearly goals but does not system- are receiving positive benefits from the principals, to teachers, and in the final
atically check progress on those goals desired behavior. The administrator analysis, to students. EL
would be operating at the beginning operating at the innovating level pro- Elmore, R. (2003). Knowing the right

level. vides extra, targeted support for those thing to do: School improvement and
The score of developing indicates that who are not currently having success performance-based accountability. Wash-
the desired behavior is executed without producing sufficient student growth. ington, DC: NGA Center for Best Practices.

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Marzano.indd 83 3/1/13 8:51 PM

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