Three Domains of Effectiveness


New York City’s recently updated tenure expectations require ratings of effectiveness in three domains. Though these thoughts are based on New York’s framework for granting tenure, the fact is they apply to anyone who seeks to be an effective teacher.

Impact on Student Learning – in NYC, the expectation is that teachers are able to show evidence of student gains on NY State standards. However, it is important to impact student learning in all subjects with a variety of measures – not just standardized tests. Baseline and post-assessments, reading levels, and writing samples all can be evidence of an impact on student learning.

Instructional Practice – This domain takes into account observations and the reports that come from them, unit and lesson planning, commitment to improvement and the way all of these facets create an impact on student learning.

Professional Contributions – The ways in which you collaborate with colleagues, interact with school staff and families, and how you enhance the school. Of course, these contributions should have a link to student learning wherever possible.

Though the tenure-granting process is stricter in NYC than it has probably ever been, I believe that what my principal says is true: It will make us better teachers.

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4 responses to “Three Domains of Effectiveness

  1. Massachusetts is undergoing similar change. I like the way you’ve simply outlined the three categories. I agree good teachers do strive for excellence in all three categories. At times systematic structures can get in the way so hopefully systems will work with teachers to eliminate the obstacles that get in the way of excellent teaching and learning.

  2. While these three areas are indeed important and represent one way to measure a teacher’s worth, I fear it can be used in a pragmatic, reductionist manner. If I were a principal in a school like ours, for example, where the vast majority of students are ELLs, many of whom are new immigrants and whose experiences greatly differ from the experiences of most of their teachers, I would put equal weight to categories such as Efforts to Understand the Role of Student Language and Culture, Efforts to Connect Curriculum to Student Lives and Experiences, and many more in the same vein. Teachers who are effective in the criteria outlined for tenure would not necessarily be a “good” teacher at a school like ours if they lacked in the areas I list. How people measure a teacher’s worth reflects what they value, and it always reflects a bias, good or bad.

    • I think each of those fall under domain 2 and can be argued to fall under 1 and 3, as well. You just missed the portfolio process, but the gist is to be able to show multiple sources of evidence in the domains, and for someone like you who does what you mentioned very well, I would certainly include evidence (either through PD, planning, or in whatever other ways you can show it).

  3. I should say ^ if I were superintendent, or whoever develops the criteria.

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