Collective Decision-Making: Measures of Student Learning Teacher Think Tanks

Districts across the state have developed innovative ways to involve all stakeholders in developing measures of student learning (MSLs) for use in educator evaluations. Durango School District and Bayfield School District convened teacher “think tanks” to help develop their MSL systems and make key decisions about the evaluation process.

Durango School District

How were teachers chosen?

Principals identified and invited specific teachers to serve on the think tank. The district achieved a representative cross section of educators by choosing representatives from across the teaching spectrum (e.g., classroom teachers, specialists, and Special Education staff). A group of central administration staff members also attended the meetings and participated alongside teachers.

What was the process for choosing MSLs?

The think tank met monthly to develop a specific component of the MSL system. The group studied the state MSL guidelines and then separated into grade level or content groups to analyze data related to the requirements and discuss the potential impact on student learning and teacher efficacy. Then they developed a proposal and presented it to the larger group. The group then provided feedback on the proposals and developed final recommendations to submit to the superintendent for approval.

Bayfield School District

How were teachers chosen?

Teachers were chosen based on teaching quality, dedication, passion, willingness to spend the time, ability to challenge and question, and a can-do attitude.

What was the process for choosing MSLs?

The group met on a need-to-meet basis to focus on specific decision points. A district staff member completed the background research to develop possibilities for the MSL system and then worked with the superintendent to narrow that list of possibilities. The ideas went to think tank members who discussed different options, developed additional ideas, and in some cases, combined different approaches to create a final proposal for the system that then went back to the administration, superintendent, and 1338 committee. After the final tool was developed, think tank members vetted the tool for usability and relevance to actual instruction. The teacher representatives also led the MSL tool training for all teachers in the district.


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