Race to the Top: States Turn to Danielson’s Framework


ASCD has long recognized that student achievement is intrinsically linked to teacher and principal effectiveness, so we were heartened to see that many Race to the Top applications place a strong focus on establishing standards of excellence for educators. We were even more excited to find quite a few of the states turning to the work of ASCD author Charlotte Danielson to guide their efforts.

To measure effectiveness, states like Arkansas, Idaho, Oregon, Wisconsin, and Wyoming are using Danielson’s Framework for Teaching to help develop teacher and principal evaluations. Comprised of 4 “domains”—Planning and Preparation, Classroom Environment, Instruction, and Professional Responsibilities—Danielson’s framework identifies aspect’s of teacher’s work that empirical and theoretical research shows to improve student learning.

Danielson is firm that evaluation systems that work drive effective instruction, not just measure it. They do this by

  • Being developed by multiple stakeholders (including teachers)
  • Using multiple indicators
  • Differentiating among teachers
  • Aligning with school goals
  • Not being solely conducted by the principal
  • Giving teachers ample opportunities and resources to improve
  • Rewarding effective teaching

With all the buzz surrounding Danielson, consider diving into some of her work. For a video overview of the four domains listed above, visit ASCD’s Meet the Authors page. There you can also explore links to Danielson’s books, articles and Twitter feed.