Pre-Novice proficiency level: Julius- 6th Grade

Julius is a first-year 6th grade teacher. The day before school starts, his observer visits his classroom and asks him what his big goal is for the year. Julius informs his observer that he has decided not to use a designated big goal.





In action… Demonstrates attempt to set or adopt a big goal according to the criteria

In reflection… Accurately explains the main ideas behind big goals, including relationship to standards, measurability, and criteria for ambitiousness and feasibility

Describes in a compelling way why it is important to set big goals, particularly according to the criteria

Strand 1: The Big Goal’s appropriateness for all students, reasoned ambitiousness, and sources.

Adopts a broad, generic goal that aspires to be ambitious and feasible for the entire class and achieves that balance for at least half of the teacher’s students

Designs a goal that is both ambitious and feasible for most students, based on reasoning informed by multiple sources, including diagnostic results for mastery goals

Strand 2: The teacher’s understanding of how accomplishing goals will demonstrate mastery of standards and increase students’ opportunities in life.

Describes how the goal is aligned to key standards and identifies a basic tool of measuring achievement of the goal.

Describes how the goal is aligned to all key standards, explains broadly what students should know, understand or be able to do in order to achieve the goal, and cites the necessary assessment tools (e.g. achievement tests, performance-based assessments, etc.) that will be most meaningful to students’ lives when measuring the different facets of the goal


For TFA Staff: Guidance for Pre-Novice and Novice Ratings

Analysis: Why did the teacher receive these ratings?

What if Julius…

Explains to his observer with genuine belief that he does not think that using a big goal will benefit his classroom? He says, “I really want my students to do well, but I just don’t think a big goal will help me. I don’t think I need a big goal to inspire me or my students. I’ve thought a lot about this and I deeply believe that if I just teach good solid lessons I can make it work without a big goal. Good teaching is what’s important—I just find the whole goal thing distracting.” When his observer pushes him to consider the benefits of using a big goal, Julius responds, “It just doesn’t feel right for me. If I just teach my students will learn. I shouldn’t have to have a big goal that I’m driving towards. How can I honestly know ahead of time where my students will be at the end of the year? It’s just unrealistic to think I can actually predict their achievement levels nine months from now. I just need to put my time into lesson planning and delivering good lessons. That’s all that should matter.”

Regardless of how genuine his conviction that big goals will not benefit him personally, Julius has not attempted to adopt or create a goal as described in the teacher action for B-1.

The lack of an attempt warrants a PRE-NOVICE rating.

Explains to his observer that he thinks big goals are a waste of time? He says, “I find them prescriptive and contrived. None of the other teachers in my school have big goals—does that mean they’re all bad teachers? How come we’re the only ones expected to do this? The whole 80% thing just seems really forced to me. The truth is it feels like an extension of standardized testing—everyone wants to be able to point to the numbers to prove that students are learning but student learning is not about numbers.”

Because he does not see the value of establishing a clear academic destination towards which to point all of his efforts, Julius has not attempted to adopt or create a goal as described in the teacher action for B-1.

The lack of an attempt warrants a PRE-NOVICE rating.

Starts out the year believing in big goals but then loses faith and abandons his pursuit of the goal? He initially sets a solid BP level goal of “100% will earn at least 80% on the LEAP test” and convincingly describes to his observer both how the goal is aligned to standards and how he plans to measure and track progress towards his goal. He spends time the first month of school investing students in his goal and tracking progress, but over the course of the first few months becomes overwhelmed, disenchanted and loses faith in the possibility of reaching the goal. By December he has stopped referring to it, stopped tracking objective mastery, and admits to his observer that he has given up on achieving the goal.

Although Julius may have initially earned a BP rank for B-1 in September, by December he has abandoned his goal and would revert to a PRE-NOVICE rating.

Knows that his observer expects him to have a big goal and so reluctantly creates one simply to satisfy the bare minimal expectation of his training requirements? His goal is: “We will produce excellence in student learning.” Julius admits to his observer that he has no plans “to do any chants or posters or anything else” substantial with his goal but he knows he’s supposed to have one, “so there it is,” he says.

Julius has created a completely ineffective goal that neither is ambitious, feasible, measurable, nor aligned to standards. His professed mindset is actively resistant to the use of a big goal and he admits that he has no plans to use it in any meaningful way.

The lack of a good faith attempt warrants a PRE-NOVICE rating.

Genuinely believes in big goals, puts a lot of thought into choosing one and is well-intentioned, but ultimately develops a goal that is impossible to measure, like “My students will develop a love of learning.”

Despite the fact that Julius’ goal cannot be measured, and he clearly does not possess the mindset or knowledge of the main ideas behind big goals, he has nonetheless attempted to adopt a goal.

His attempt warrants a NOVICE rating.