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Why EDUCATE Alabama?

The need for a new teacher evaluation system was dictated by the fact that there are state adopted teacher performance standards - the " Alabama Quality Teaching Standards" (AQTS).   These standards will be the foundation for both teacher evaluation and teacher professional development in the years ahead.   The process of revising the evaluation system to address the new standards also provided the opportunity to address many of the concerns about the Professional Education Personnel Evaluation (PEPE) system that have been expressed by teachers and administrators in recent years.   The new evaluation system is streamlined in several ways and its focus/purpose is quite different.

  • EDUCATEAlabama is a strictly formative evaluation system designed to provide data about a teacher's current practices  measured against the AQTS that can be used to set expectations, goals, and plans for teacher professional growth.
  • EDUCATEAlabama uses verbiage aligned with the  Alabama Continuum for Teacher Development.   Instead of numerical scores/ratings, levels of practice identified in the evaluation process are designated as Emerging, Applying, Integrating or Innovating.
  • EDUCATEAlabama addresses the five AQTS and 39 related indicators.   The new evaluation process employs holistic descriptions of practice. The number of forms used in the evaluation process has been minimized.  Levels of practice appear only on the Collaborative Summary Report.
  • EDUCATEAlabama's Continua (series of 39 continuums - one per indicator within 5 standards) are used to define levels of teacher practice.   The EDUCATEAlabama Continua are very similar to those of the Alabama Continuum for Teacher Development used in the Alabama Mentoring Program.   The EDUCATEAlabama Continuums have four levels of practice rather than the five defined in the Teacher Development Continuum.
  • EDUCATEAlabama includes teacher self-assessment, based on the Alabama Quality Teaching Standards, as are all other data collection instruments and procedures
  • EDUCATEAlabama includes a minimum of two unannounced observations for all teachers.   Anecdotal notes are used to record observational data.
  • EDUCATEAlabama also uses Dialogues and Principal Data as data collection procedures in areas that are not observable in the classroom.
  • EDUCATEAlabama builds a Collaborative Summary Report (CSR) compiling all data gathered during the evaluation process.   The appropriate continuum in the EDUCATEAlabama Continua is applied to the data/information available for each indicator to determine the levels of practice exhibited during a full evaluation year.
  • At the conclusion of the EDUCATEAlabama process, evaluator and teacher will collaboratively develop theCSR and a Professional Learning Plan (PLP.)

Alabama Continuum for Teacher Development

Purpose of the Continuum

Based on the five Alabama Quality Teaching Standards (AQTS), the Continuum articulates a shared vision and common language of teaching excellence to guide an individual's career-long development within an environment of collegial support. It is a tool for guiding and supporting teachers in the use of reflection, self- assessment, and goal setting for professional learning and growth. Specifically, the Continuum is intended to support meaningful reflective conversations among teachers, mentors, coaches, and administrators. It supports teachers in setting professional goals and pursuing professional development to reach those goals. It also serves as a focus for teacher preparation institutions and pre-service candidates.

Structure and Organization of the Continuum

The AQTS identifies key standards and indicators. In the Continuum, many of these indicators have been combined, and some are not included. Please note that the Continuum enhances but does not supplant the AQTS.

The Continuum is organized to describe five increasingly complex and sophisticated levels of development of practice: Pre-Service and Beginning, Emerging, Applying, Integrating, and Innovating. The indicators at each level describe what a teacher should know and be able to do at that level; these indicators are cumulative and include those stated in previous levels.

The levels do not represent a chronological sequence in a teacher's growth; rather, each describes a developmental level of performance. A teacher may be at an Emerging or Applying level of practice for some indicators on the Continuum and at an Integrating or Innovating level for other indicators, regardless of how many years she or he has been in the profession. In fact, it is not uncommon for accomplished teachers to self-assess and find themselves moving from right to left on the continuum in response to new teaching contexts and challenges.

The Continuum is based on two assumptions: (1) that growth in professional practice comes from intentional reflection and engagement in appropriate professional learning opportunities and (2) that a teacher develops expertise and leadership as a member of a community of learners focused on high achievement for all students.

Alabama Quality Teaching Standards

Alabama's new set of state approved teaching standards, the Alabama Quality Teaching Standards (AQTS).   They were developed under the auspices of the Governor's Commission on Quality Teaching.

Alabama Quality Teaching Standards: EDUCATE Alabama Version

In order to make the five AQTS standards more useful in both evaluation of teacher practice and teacher professional development, the Alabama educator task forces working in those areas (professional development, evaluation) restructured the original lists of performance indicators defining each of the five standards into sets of performance indicators and definition items (items defining indicators).   The result was five standards and 39 indicators with numerous, exemplary definition items for each indicator.   Please note the term "exemplary".   A teacher does not have to exhibit practice of all definition items for a particular indicator at any given time.   Rather, a pattern of practice consistent with listed definition items will be used to identify a level of practice for a given indicator.

The titles of the five standards are:   Content Knowledge, Teaching and Learning, Literacy, Diversity, and Professionalism.

Standards 2, 3, and 4 have been broken down into several sub-standards for utility in evaluation and planning for professional learning.   That was done because expectations for teacher practice within those standards are diverse.   For example, teaching and learning contains expectations regarding classroom management (2a), instructional strategies (2b), and assessment (2c).


EDUCATE Alabama  Teacher Orientation Module