Developing Research-Based Standards
Education in Texas is part of a dynamic, ever-changing landscape. The geographical diversity of the state, the decisions made by legislators, and the changing economic and social needs and priorities present unique challenges for Texas educators, and impact the direction that the Texas Education Agency (TEA) needs to take.
In 2013, our Texas Comprehensive Center (TXCC) partnered with the TEA on a project that began with revision of Texas’s teaching-practice standards that were developed in 1997. The Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System initiative is guided by a steering committee composed of classroom teachers, principals, education professors, and other stakeholders from around the state. Because the steering committee is representative of the diversity of our state, it is able to serve as a sounding board and filter for how to apply the promising practices around teacher evaluation systems to the specific needs of Texas schools.
As a comprehensive center, our primary function is to bring research to practice through dissemination, training, and technical assistance. In collaboration with the TEA, SEDL’s TXCC engaged teacher effectiveness experts to provide the steering committee with high-quality research that is available on effective teaching, teacher standards development, and implementation of teacher evaluation systems that include student growth measures. This research base is reflected in the new teacher practice standards, which address planning and delivery of instruction, basing teaching on what students know and how they learn, demonstrating content knowledge and expertise, creating effective learning environments, using data to drive practice, and developing as a professional. The second draft of Texas’ revised teacher practice standards was completed in October.
Throughout the revision of the Texas teacher practice standards, which is Phase I of the project, SEDL’s TXCC team worked with TEA staff to recruit and facilitate the steering committee and to build a partnership with one of the national content centers, Great Teachers and Leaders, which provided research to guide the revision of the standards and reviewed the draft revisions against national teaching frameworks. By facilitating these partnerships, and by ensuring that the project tasks were completed in a timely and thoughtful manner, TEA and TXCC staff have enabled the development of new standards that are grounded in research and emerging promising practices while also addressing the unique requirements of Texas teachers and educators.