Pre-Novice proficiency level: Ruth- 6th Grade English

Ruth, a sixth grade English teacher, has worked hard with her students for the past few months. She diligently grades student class work and homework and conducts assessments. Her grade book and student achievement tracking are in good order and up to date. Today, she is teaching a lesson on cause and effect.





In action…Demonstrates attempt to develop students’ rational understanding that they can achieve by working hard

In reflection…Accurately explains strategies for developing students’ rational understanding that they can achieve by working hard

Describes in a compelling way why it is important to develop students’ belief that they can achieve by working hard

Strand 1: The teacher’s effectiveness in selecting “I can” strategies and messages that will compel students.

Effectively uses the same teacher-centered strategies in all situations to convey generic messages that students can achieve by working hard

Effectively uses student-centered strategies (based on an understanding of students and depending on the situation) to reach a range of students to convey that students can achieve by working hard

Strand 2: The frequency of “I can” strategies and the degree to which they are integrated into the classroom.

Conveys messages and implements strategies occasionally and in isolation

Regularly conveys messages and employs a series of integrated classroom strategies



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

Analysis: Why did the teacher receive these ratings?

What if Ruth …

Decided not to tell her students how they are doing in her class until the end of the semester? In a conversation with her evaluator, Ruth observes that "my students are already so stressed out about the state test, so I don't want to stress them with all these grades and get them more nervous. I think they know that they can do this work. I mean, I did when I was their age. I don't want to tell them what my goal is for them either, precisely because it is so ambitious that it might make them feel even worse about how far we have to go. I know how they are doing and that's what matters since I'll use that information to guide them toward achievement. Kids can get pretty competitive, and if some aren't doing as well as others it can get ugly. Besides, grades only tell part of the story." When Ruth's colleague asks her for tips for dealing with students who just don't believe they can succeed, Ruth answers, "That's not really our responsibility. The fact is, if we teach the material we're supposed to teach, those who can do it will know they can do it. It's not on us to take time for all that."

Ruth has not attempted to "develop students’ rational understanding that they can achieve by working hard" as described in the teacher action for I-1. The lack of an attempt warrants a PRE-NOVICE rating.

Designs an achievement tracking spreadsheet for her students to fill out indicating objective mastery on a bi-weekly basis? She also wrote chants to remind her students to "Work Hard for Success." When a student answers a question incorrectly, Ruth responds, "Wrong. Let's see if someone else was paying better attention," and moves to another student without returning to the first one. When Ruth's evaluator asks the original student about the exchange, the student replies, "I am paying attention, but I just don't get it as fast as other students. I feel like I'm working hard in this class but it's not really getting me anywhere. I have no idea how I'm even doing in this class and neither do my friends." When the evaluator asks the student if his tracking sheet helps him understand how he is doing, the student responds, "Well, I don't really use that. It's optional and I never really understood what it was for or what it was about so I just never got into it." In a post-observation conversation, Ruth's evaluator asks about her use of the tracking sheets. Ruth responds, "I leave that totally up to the students. These are middle school students who will soon be in high school and I expect them to take responsibility for their own learning." Her evaluator then asks Ruth what happens if students don't know the answer to a question in class. Ruth responds, "It's up to them to know the answers. They are young adults. They have either put the work in or they haven't."

Although Ruth has designed chants and an achievement tracking system, she doesn't seem to use them in any meaningful or structured way. Moreover, the student quote indicates that the tracking system, as implemented by Ruth, is ineffective in building students’ "I Can" belief that hard work leads to achievement. Furthermore, Ruth's approach to incorrect student answers works against building students’ belief that they can achieve. Ruth is so dismissive of implementing her designed achievement tracking and chants that those attempts (that might otherwise qualify as at least NOVICE) become meaningless and therefore qualify at PRE-NOVICE.