Academic journal article Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin

Looking at the Bigger Picture with Dr. Robert Marzano: Teacher Evaluation and Development for Improved Student Learning

Academic journal article Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin

Looking at the Bigger Picture with Dr. Robert Marzano: Teacher Evaluation and Development for Improved Student Learning

Article excerpt

Few people will disagree that the most significant factor for a student is the teacher. In an article for the November 2012 issue of the Phi Delta Kappan, Oon-SengTan, Dean of Teacher Education at the National Institute of Education in Singapore, discussed the importance of teacher recruitment, professional development, and effective instructional delivery (p. 76). Marc Tucker (2011), in his comparative study of the United States and top-performing educational systems, devoted considerable time to teacher quality and effectiveness. According to the 2012 Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll (Bushaw & Lopez, 2012), Americans describe their influential teachers in common terms: caring, encouraging, attentive, and committed (p. 16). None of those words appear on a teachers license, and few appear on evaluation forms used by one's administrator or lead teacher. Recently, I had the honor of exploring instructional improvement and teacher evaluation, as well as a few other controversial topics, with one of education's premier researchers, Dr. Robert Marzano, author of The Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model.

QUINN: Thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed today. I'll share a little about our readership. We have an international readership for our journal, which is published through Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, an organization of almost 82,000 key women educators in 17 countries. I believe, as educators, the majority of readers will be familiar with your work, but please give us a little background on yourself and your work with teacher evaluation models.

MARZANO: I am the CEO for Marzano Research Laboratory, which is in Denver, Colorado. We take research and theory and turn it into practice. We cover a variety of topics at the highest levels of school reform and specific components within that-from something as specific as vocabulary instruction to something as general as leadership. Instructional strategies have always been a big part of what I do, and probably one of the first books I wrote on that [general instruction strategies] was Classroom Instruction That Works in 2000 [publication 2001] and a series of related books since then. In 2007,1 wrote a book called The Art and Science of Teaching, which included all of my previous work and that of other people in a comprehensive framework of instruction. Then, about 5 years ago, I adapted that for teacher evaluations. The teacher evaluation model is used, I believe, in more than 30 states-in some states to a great extent and in other states to not as full an extent. The model is designed to help teachers get better, not to measure them.

QUINN: When you were developing your model, how did you arrive at the model? I assume you relied on your previous work, hut did you look at other models for flaws you thought had not been addressed?

MARZANO: We relied on our research to identify the components of the model as well as research from others for the last four or five decades. The reason I decided to design a model of instructional evaluation is that I did not think the models out there were focused enough at a level of specificity to allow teachers to get better, so what distinguishes my model is that it gets down to specific strategies and how well those are being employed. There are good measurement models out there, but I thought what was missing was this level of granularity that helps people improve, which I've always thought my model supplied because it was designed for that.

QUINN: From what I've seen, I certainly agree. I think one of the most unique aspects of your model is the suggested student-evidence piece. How did you decide that was an important part to include? Sometimes we don't honor what our students say and think when we are in the evaluation process.

MARZANO: Well, there are 41 elements, and each element has specific strategies. Each element also has a desired effect, something you're hoping will happen with students if teachers use a given strategy. …

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