Goal-Setting and Professional Development
How does goal-setting and professional development in T-TESS differ from the self-assessment in PDAS?
As often implemented, the self-assessment in PDAS was a single submission in the fall that was rarely referred to or used as a tool for professional growth. T-TESS uses the cycle of self-assessment, observation, student growth, and goal-setting and professional development as an ongoing process to promote and track professional growth. Teachers and appraisers agree on goals and a development plan to attain those goals, and, like in PDAS, the teacher finalizes the plan in the fall. Unlike PDAS, the T-TESS version serves as a living, dynamic document used to track progress toward those goals, professional development undertaken to achieve the goals, and revisions to goals as the teacher’s context changes over the year.
In addition, the goal-setting and professional development plan becomes the tool to synthesize feedback from various components of T-TESS – self-assessment, prior goal accomplishment, observations, and student growth – so teachers and appraisers can more accurately pinpoint areas for refinement as they move forward in the appraisal cycle.
Teachers don’t often get to choose their professional development. How can they set a development plan?
The professional development plan would incorporate all forms of professional development, not just the traditionally provided courses offered by outside entities or to whole staff. Professional development could include job-embedded activities, such as working within professional learning communities (PLCs), with an instructional coach, a department chair, or another teacher on particular practices identified as improvement goals. It could also include self-directed professional development that seeks literature, online videos or modules that address particular practices that the teacher identified as improvement goals.
What’s the process for the goal-setting and professional development component?
During the first year of T-TESS implementation, teachers will identify their improvement goals (after self-assessing on the T-TESS rubric and reviewing data) and map out a plan to achieve those goals. The goals and professional development plan can be established in a meeting with an appraiser or prior to that meeting, although the appraiser does need to agree with the goals and the plan established. Teachers will submit that document to their appraisers for approval and will then maintain that document throughout the year, tracking their progress in professional development and potentially revising goals as needed because of changing circumstances. During the end-of-year conference, teachers and appraisers will go over the progress made in achieving goals (although on-going conversations about goals and development should ideally occur throughout the year) and set new goals and a new professional development plan for the next year based on the ongoing discussions between appraiser and teacher about areas for refinement based on the other components of T-TESS.
At the beginning of the next school year, teachers will have the ability make any revisions to their goals and professional development plan, as necessary, due to changing circumstances, such as a new teaching assignment. Teachers will then submit their goals and plan to their appraiser, and the process will repeat itself.
T-TESS seeks to establish with this process that:
- Development is an ongoing process for all teachers regardless of their level of proficiency;
- Development isn’t isolated in single-year snapshots of performance but is continuous and consistently building off prior efforts and attention; and
- Teachers have a say in and monitor their own goals and growth throughout the year with appraisers seeking to provide the support that teachers need to achieve their goals.