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Premium Member Book (May 2006)
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Supervision for Learning

by James M. Aseltine, Judith O. Faryniarz and Anthony J. Rigazio-DiGilio

Table of Contents

An ASCD Study Guide for Supervision for Learning: A Performance-Based Approach to Teacher Development and School Improvement

This study guide is designed to enhance your understanding of Supervision for Learning, an ASCD book published in May 2006. Written by James M. Aseltine, Judith O. Faryniarz, and Anthony J. Rigazio-DiGilio, the book describes a model of supervision and evaluation that increases teachers' and administrators' capacity to use student performance data strategically to improve student learning, and is intrinsically linked to professional development and school improvement efforts.

The questions here offer an opportunity to connect the book's content to your own experiences. Most of the questions are ones you can think about on your own, but they might also serve as the basis for discussion with colleagues in study groups or during other professional development activities. You can use the study guide after you have read the entire book or as you finish each chapter. The questions provided are not meant to cover all aspects of the book; rather, they address selected ideas that might warrant further reflection. You will likely think of additional areas for reflection or discussion as you connect the Performance-Based Supervision and Evaluation (PBSE) model to challenges and issues facing your own school and district.

Chapter 1: Reconceptualizing Supervision and Evaluation

  1. What internal forces have led your school or district to consider reexamining supervision and evaluation practices?
  2. What external forces have led your school or district to consider reexamining supervision and evaluation practices?
  3. What are your current system of supervision and evaluation's benefits and limitations for students, teachers, and supervisors?
  4. What are the roles of teachers and administrators within your current system of supervision and evaluation? Who does the work? Who does the learning? Who experiences professional growth?
  5. How do supervisors conduct post-observation teacher conferences? Do the supervisors and teachers use specific sources of student learning to guide these conversations?
  6. How are your school's current teacher evaluation processes linked to district improvement efforts?
  7. Within your district, how are administrator evaluations linked to the improvement of student learning? How are they linked to the improvement of teacher learning?

Chapter 2: Getting Ready to Target Improvement

  1. To what extent do content standards influence current practice in your classroom or school?
  2. How are standards linked to classroom outcomes?
  3. How are faculty conversations focused on helping all students achieve high quality learning linked to standards?
  4. What are some areas of student learning that might be a worthy focus for intervention in your classroom or school? What prompted you to suggest these potential focus areas?
  5. How would you determine which areas of essential knowledge and skills would be the best focus of your professional growth efforts?
  6. How comfortable are you determining strategically selected, student-related, outcome-based focus areas? Are other faculty members at your school ready to engage in an analytic process for identifying these focus areas?
  7. Why might some educators have reservations about linking teacher evaluation to student learning?
  8. Do you and your colleagues use student performance data to inform instruction? If so, how? How might you use student performance data more strategically?

Chapter 3: Working Together to Initiate Teacher Development

  1. How would a more performance-based approach to supervision and evaluation change the nature of collaborative work between teachers and administrators in your school or district?
  2. How might this type of collaboration alter the current teacher-administrator power distribution in your school or district?
  3. What kinds of new organizational structures within your school or district would facilitate collaborative monitoring of student learning by individuals and teams of teachers?
  4. Is action research a part of current practice in your school or district? If so, how might you integrate it with a performance-based approach to supervision and evaluation? If not, what new practices or organizational structures would encourage action research?
  5. What are some sources of performance data that might reveal your students' areas of need? How would you use these data sources to identify a potential “slice” of essential knowledge and skills and determine a clear focus for teacher learning?

Chapter 4: Creating Individual Professional Development Plans

  1. In Chapter 4, Marcia Williams constructs a professional development plan to “get smarter” about helping her students become stronger writers. How is her plan similar to professional development plans in your school or district? How is it different?
  2. How might the Criteria of Excellence be used to guide teacher and administrator development in your school or district?
  3. Does your school or district use standards-based rubrics to assess student performance? If so, how are they used? If not, how might standards-based rubrics enhance your assessment of student learning?

Chapter 5: Differentiating Performance-Based Supervision and Evaluation

  1. The story of Eileen Blanchard offers a portrait of a teacher who is beginning to understand the difference between “grades” and deeper assessment of student learning through the PBSE model. Within your school or district, how is educators' understanding assessment changing? How are assessment practices changing?
  2. What skills do teachers and administrators need to implement a standards-based curriculum effectively? How are these skills reinforced in your teacher evaluation plan and professional development plan?
  3. Has your school made a formal commitment to focus on the results of educators' work? If so, what could you do to strengthen this commitment? If not, what are the obstacles to making this commitment?
  4. How might educators expand their focus on student learning to include social goals as well as academic ones?
  5. How might a school more closely link the work of faculty who are not classroom teachers (reading consultants, special education teachers, guidance counselors, etc.) to student learning outcomes?

Chapter 6: Managing Performance-Based Supervision and Evaluation

  1. What is your school or district's process for planning professional development activities? How might a more performance-based approach to supervision and evaluation alter this process?
  2. Examine a list of your school or district personnel. Consider the particular content or pedagogical expertise that each educator holds. How might current staff members support the continuing growth of their colleagues?
  3. What resources beyond current staff might support the professional development of teachers in your school or district?
  4. In your school, how would classroom observations be different within a more performance-based model of supervision and evaluation?
  5. What are some examples of artifacts that your school or district's teachers might generate to document their professional development and the effectiveness of their instructional interventions?

Chapter 7: Pursuing Teacher Learning to Inform Instructional Interventions

  1. A performance-based approach to supervision and evaluation shifts primary responsibility and accountability for teacher growth and its impact on student learning to the teacher. What would this mean for teachers and administrators in your school or district?
  2. In your school or district, what supports exist to help teachers share professional knowledge and skills across classrooms, grade levels, and teams? What additional supports might strengthen this sharing?
  3. A basic premise of this chapter is that as teachers get smarter and more strategic in their instruction and assessment, their students' learning improves. How do current teacher evaluation and professional development practices at your school really support teacher growth? How is student work used to demonstrate teacher growth?
  4. Based on your reading and your own professional experiences, how might teachers and administrators collaborate differently in order to address the professional growth needs of all individual teachers and administrators more effectively?

Chapter 8: Evaluating Teacher Growth and Development

  1. How is the PBSE “teacher growth cycle” different from an annual summative evaluation?
  2. How can teachers and administrators use the Criteria of Excellence to guide professional development and supervisory feedback?
  3. One of the most powerful components of the PBSE model is the conversations about student work it facilitates between teachers and administrators. What might such a conversation sound like? How would it be different from current conversations about student work?
  4. How could PBSE be integrated into your district's current supervision and evaluation program?
  5. How should administrators and teachers respond to a colleague who is less than enthusiastic about the PBSE process?

Chapter 9: Developing Culture and Capacity in the Learning Community

  1. Looking deeply at data can help administrators and teachers plan professional development, including common professional development that will be beneficial for groups of teachers. How might your school or district use data more strategically to respond to teacher growth needs?
  2. School and district culture have a profound impact on the success of any professional initiative, and, in turn, are influenced by that initiative. How might a more performance-based approach to supervision and evaluation change the culture of your school or district?
  3. Performance-Based Supervision and Evaluation is a means to cultural change. Which aspects of your program, school, or district culture might be standing in the way of improved student learning?
  4. How is your school, program, or district currently increasing its capacity to improve student learning? What obstacles are you encountering?

Chapter 10: Apply the Model to Administrators

  1. How are administrators in your district supervised and evaluated? How effectively does the current process develop administrators' knowledge and skills in order to advance performance-based teacher practice and improve student learning?
  2. How can your school and district more effectively integrate school improvement efforts, professional development, teacher evaluation, and administrator evaluation?
  3. What are some artifacts that administrators might share to demonstrate that they are using data strategically to plan teacher professional development that will improve student learning?
  4. How do administrators in your district currently share the successes they've had in improving their programs and schools? Are both teachers and administrators present during those conversations?
  5. Why might some administrators have reservations about using evidence of teacher growth and student learning data as the basis of their evaluations?


  1. On a continuum of practice, where does your school or district fall in regard to supervision and evaluation that improve teacher capacity and student learning?
  2. What resources, both people and other supports, will you need to foster more performance-based supervision and evaluation?
  3. What new learning do you personally require to help your school or district move toward higher performance?
  4. Over the next five years, what planning, professional development activities, and resources will your school or district need to successfully implement the PBSE process?

Supervision for Learning was written by James M. Aseltine, Judith O. Faryniarz, and Anthony J. Rigazio-DiGilio. This 243 page, 6″ × 9″ original paperback book (Stock #106001; ISBN-13 978-1-4166-0327-6; ISBN-10 1-4166-0327-1) is available from ASCD for $21.95 (ASCD member) or $27.95 (nonmember). Copyright © 2006 by ASCD. To order a copy, call ASCD at 1-800-933-2723 (in Virginia 1-703-578-9600) and press 2 for the Service Center, or buy the book from ASCD's Online Store.


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