Briefly describe your model.

The Marzano Causal Teacher Evaluation Model identifies a direct cause and effect relationship between elements in the model and student learning. The model provides teachers with clear expectations that enable teachers to direct their own professional learning. Inherent within the model is aligned professional development and feedback to support teacher growth and development.

The model includes a well-articulated knowledge base in teaching with four domains directly tied to student achievement:

Domain 1: Classroom Strategies and Behaviors

Domain 2: Preparing and Planning

Domain 3: Reflecting on Teaching

Domain 4: Collegiality and Professionalism

The four interdependent domains include 60 elements. The model is enhanced by clear descriptions of teaching and levels of performance using rating scales ranging from 0- Not using 1- Beginning, 2-Developing, 3-Applying, and 4-Innovating, which enable teachers and observers to engage in focused practice and feedback.

With 41 of the 60 elements, Domain 1 is the most complex and has a direct causal link with student achievement. It addresses what teachers do in the classroom. Domain 1 is organized into nine design questions that are further organized into three major categories: Lesson Segments Involving Routine Events, Lesson Segments Addressing Content, and Lesson Segments Enacted on the Spot. These segments reflect the complexity of teaching and the natural flow of activities in the classroom based on the premise that lessons are constructed with multiple parts and that each part of a lesson has distinct characteristics, routines, and processes.

Domain 2 containing eight elements focuses on planning and preparing for units of instruction and lessons within units. It is organized into three general categories:

  1. Lessons and units
  2. Materials and resources and
  3. The special needs of students.

Because these elements are directly related to Domain 1, the better a teacher prepares, the more effective his/her choices are in implementing instruction.

Domain 3 is based upon the concept of deliberate practice. It addresses teacher self-reflection in the areas of evaluating personal performance and developing and implementing a professional growth plan. When teachers receive specific and focused feedback using a common language of instruction, they can increase their expertise and subsequently, student performance. Teachers select one to three elements to engage in focused practice with feedback from self-reflection, peers, and supervisors.

Domain 4 addresses collegiality and professionalism, placing emphasis on opportunities to observe and discuss expertise. Three categories of elements include:

  1. Promoting a positive environment
  2. Promoting exchange of ideas and strategies
  3. Promoting district and school development.

This domain supports teacher participation in lesson study, instructional rounds, teacher-led professional development, and professional learning communities in which teachers collaboratively examine evidence of student learning and the impact that specific instructional strategies have on learning.

The Marzano model is based on an aggregation of the research on elements that have been shown to correlate with student academic achievement and is based on thousands of studies that span multiple decades. One of the unique aspects of the research on this model is that it has a growing number of experimental/control studies conducted by practicing teachers on the effectiveness of specific strategies in their classrooms. Studies that use correlation analysis techniques do establish a link between elements of a model and student achievement. Current evaluation models only have correlational data regarding the relationship between their elements and student achievement.

Where has your model been used and what data do you have regarding its efficacy?

Currently, the model is used in 44 states, and in Bermuda and Canada. To date, over 300 experimental/control studies have been conducted involving over 14,000 students, 300 teachers, across 38 schools in 14 districts. The average effect size for strategies addressed in the studies was .42 with some studies reporting effect sizes of 2.00 and higher. An average effect size of .42 is associated with a 16 percentile point gain in student achievement. On average, when teachers use the classroom strategies and behaviors in this model their typical student achievement increased by 16 percentile points. However, great gains (i.e., those associated with an effect size of 2.00) can be realized if specific strategies are used in specific ways outlined in the Causal Model.

What is your definition of good teaching?

Teaching is challenging and cognitively complex work that requires a deep understanding of each student, curriculum, instruction, and assessment in ways that enable all students to be successful. Our definition of an effective teacher is one who makes instructional decisions that produce student learning gains.

How does your model promote a collaborative environment among educators?

The premise of the entire model is based on a reciprocal process of feedback, one in which teachers and administrators as well as peers, participate in conversations with each other about teaching and learning against a common instructional framework. Domain 4 recognizes the importance of collegial relationships through participation in professional learning communities, lesson study, and focused professional development aligned with teachers’ areas of strengths, needs, and interests.

How does your model differ from the other models that are part of the New Jersey pilot?

The Marzano Causal Model offers an entirely new perspective on teacher evaluation based on contemporary research in education and cognitive psychology making an explicit link between what teachers are doing and the result of the instruction in the classroom. In this model, student achievement data is combined with teacher growth in pedagogy to provide a more informative, justifiable, and fair approach to teacher evaluation.

Each of the elements within the Causal Model has a strong research base spanning 35 years that is directly linked to student achievement. The model provides clear, specific, and observable descriptions of teaching found to have a positive impact on student learning. It also recognizes different stages of development progressing toward expertise in teaching observed and documented over time. 

How does your model assure quality training of administrators and teachers?

Professional development services include multiple-day and multiple-year in-person professional development, online self-study, facilitated study groups, and a graduate program in partnership with Wilkes University that offers a competency-based Masters of Science in the Art and Science of Teaching. Series of professional development sessions are targeted toward district and school leaders, instructional coaches, and teachers designed to meet the specific needs of each group. Observer and staff developer certification programs are available. All professional development programs help districts build defensible and reliable evaluation systems that align professional development and student learning with a multi-measure teacher evaluation system.  

How does your model incorporate the use of student standardized test scores?

Learning Sciences International works with school districts and states to develop a methodology to connect student standardized data to instructional practice based on the specific needs of the state and district. Learning Sciences International (LSI) is the technical assistance provider for the Florida Department of Education and currently provides technical assistance to 67 school districts -- some of the largest in the country. This work involves helping states, districts, and individual schools develop teacher evaluation systems that focus on improving the quality of instruction as a key strategy to improving student learning outcomes.

For more information on the Marzano model, go to