An Introduction to the Draft Teaching Standards
The New York State Teaching Standards are structured around Seven Standards, a set of Elements further defining each Standard, and a set of Performance Indicators under each Element. Each Standard represents a broad area of knowledge and skills that research and best practices in the classroom have shown to be essential to effective teaching and to positively contribute to student learning and achievement. Each Standard is further defined by Elements that describe the desired knowledge, skills, actions, and behaviors of teachers for that Standard. Performance Indicators are the observable and measurable aspects of teaching practice under each Element.
The Elements define “what” teachers do and the Performance Indicators describe “how” teachers accomplish the actions or behaviors. For example, Standard III, Instructional Practice, Element III.1, states “Teachers use research-based practices and evidence of student learning to provide developmentally appropriate and standards-driven instruction that motivates and engages students in learning.” There are three Performance Indicators under this Element:
- Teachers align instruction to standards.
- Teachers implement instruction that has been proven to be effective in prior research.
- Students are actively and cognitively engaged through teacher facilitation of student-to-student interactions and student-to-teacher interactions.
These three Performance Indicators are observable and can be measured through a classroom evaluation instrument or through some other evaluative tool. These indicators also represent the two types of indicators found in the draft New York State Teaching Standards – those that represent teacher actions or behaviors, and those that show student actions or behaviors that result from a teacher’s actions, behaviors, or effect on students. Performance indicators “a.” and “b.” are observable and measurable through teacher action and behavior, whereas performance indicator “c.” is directly observable through student action and behavior. Inference refers to the extent to which criteria rely directly on student outcomes. Performance indicator “c.” is referred to as “low-inference” because it refers to student outcomes instead of teacher inputs. Some research suggests that lower-inference criteria are preferable because they are closer to the desired outcome, which is student achievement.
When the New York State Teaching Standards were first drafted, the Department made several preliminary decisions about their content at the Standard Level in several key areas, pending review and approval by the Standards Work Group. These decisions are informed by research on performance-based teaching standards and existing standards frameworks, and include technology, student diversity, and communication and collaboration.The ability of teacher educators to know of and adeptly use a variety of technological tools, techniques, and skills to inform and enhance their teaching practice, student learning, and other aspects related to professional performance is crucial to their effectiveness in today’s learning environment. Since technology is present in every aspect of teaching, it is referenced and infused throughout the seven Standards. The term all students when used in the New York State Teaching Standards is an all-encompassing term. It is used throughout the draft New York State Teaching Standards because New York’s learners represent a wide range of students and their diversity is an important component to teaching and being an effective teacher in New York. A third critical component of teachers’ effectiveness is the ability to communicate and collaborate with colleagues, students’ families, caregivers and/or guardians, school leadership and administration, the community, and others. Collaboration and communication are integral to teaching practice and are infused throughout the Draft Teaching Standards. The terms “learning environment” and “classroom” are generally used interchangeably throughout the Standards documents, and refer to any P-12 setting where learning occurs, such as a library, museum, gymnasium, laboratory, classroom, etc. A glossary of terms including these and others will be included with the Regents item that will be submitted in the winter of 2010.