Over the past 18 months, the Blue Valley USD 229 in Kansas has taken steps to improve accountability for teachers’ use of technology by creating a set of “teacher technology competencies,” based in part on the work of the International Society for Technology in Education and the CEO Forum on Education and Technology. These standards have had the added benefit of not only measuring where teachers are with technology, but also clearly communicating the district’s expectations to teachers and giving them benchmarks to strive for.
With input from its Technology Integration advisory board, Blue Valley developed 43 competencies in four areas: curriculum and instruction, classroom management, communications, and professional development. To assess teachers in these areas, the district turned to its Individual Development Plan (IDP), which is part of the professional development system for the state of Kansas. The process consists of a rubric that teachers use to measure their development in identified areas of growth. The advantage of using an existing system of assessment is that teachers are already familiar with how it works.
To ensure teacher anonymity, the district hired a local research and consulting firm to compile and report the data. During the 1999-00 school year, the data was carefully analyzed, and staff development has been tailored to meet the needs and interests of teachers based on the results of the assessment. Blue Valley’s next step is to make the assessment available online via the district’s intranet, allowing data to be analyzed much more easily and quickly.
Here’s an outline of the district’s rubric for teacher self-assessment in each of its 43 technology competencies:
o Non-use. No or limited knowledge of its teaching applications.
o Awareness. Can explain how it can be used as an instructional resource.
o Demonstration. Experiment with its use.
o Integration. Naturally consider its use as a teaching and learning tool.
o Transfer. Encourage colleagues to use it through mentoring, collaborative planning, etc.
o Not applicable. Do not believe it is relevant as a teaching or learning tool.