By Ellen Eisenberg

By Ellen Eisenberg, Executive Director of The Professional Institute for Instructional Coaching (TPIIC)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

In a recent Educational Leadership discussion forum, the discussion thread focused on teacher evaluation. The initial article, “Overcome Obstacles to Teacher Evaluation: High-Reliability Practices,” addressed the issue by proposing ways to defeat everyday challenges in implementing teacher evaluation systems along with some recommendations to avoid implementation snags. We know this topic is ever-present and ever-challenging.

Here are the common obstacles that need to be tackled and resolved in some way in order for implementation to be successful: develop a consistent definition of educator effectiveness; create a district-wide approach to instruction; provide adequate training for evaluators; and set and monitor standards for system implementation. So, what does Tony Davis, Consulting Director, The Center for Educator Effectiveness (McREL), suggest?

1. Fidelity, intensity, and consistency are critical. Effectiveness cannot be measured until we know
    what it looks like; everyone has to be evaluated using the same definition and objectives;
2. A district-wide approach to instruction ensures consistency in language and practice; this is
    necessary both within and across schools. (According to OECD in 2008, there was a 2.6 times
    great variation in student achievement across classrooms in the same schools than from school
    to school);
3. All evaluators must be properly trained to use the evaluation system and provide the appropriate
    feedback to educators; they must offer ways to strengthen practice;
4. Successful implementation of an evaluation system is a process and requires ongoing support
    and consistency to make it valuable.

As instructional coaches, you are in the position to help provide consistency, ubiquity, and fidelity to an instructional coaching process that builds teacher capacity, increases student engagement and improves student learning, all pieces of an effective evaluation system.

What are some of the strategies you implement to ensure consistency in practice and language in your coaching work?


  1. In our district we have a strong instructional coaching program. Of great concern to us was how to ensure that consistent job-embedded PD was being provided by all of our coaches. We found a great tool to help us monitor and helps coaches provided consistent PD to teachers. Here is the link:

  2. Hi Brady. Thanks for your suggestion. There are many electronic tools that are available if the school/district purchases them. Coaches always need to document their work through their reflections so they can identify their next steps in working with their teaching colleagues. TeachBoost is another tool that provides several reports to coaches who can use them to support their evidentiary trail of work they do. Just remember, the quality of the coaching work is critical and sometimes the reports just can't capture that.