Colorado: Continuous Improvement on the Teacher Rubric

The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) collected data about the system over 5 years to assess whether the state’s evaluation system was achieving its intended goals. The state used a general inbox to collect information broadly, completed a 5-year pilot during which survey data were systematically collected, and conducted an analysis of ratings that identified high correlations between elements. Through the analysis, CDE found that one significant barrier in implementation was the amount of time required to provide quality feedback to educators. In addition, they identified a series of redundancies within the evaluation rubric itself.

Problem of Practice

Colorado’s problem of practice for the Collaborative was how to streamline the evaluation rubric to eliminate redundancies and to provide more time for evaluators to provide high-quality feedback to educators.


To address their problem of practice, Colorado adopted three key strategies focused on revising the teacher rubric in the 2016–17 school year in a transparent and forward-facing way:

  1. Working group. A technical working group was formed made up of district, school, and teacher representatives who used the data to make informed decisions about needed revisions.
  2. Focus groups. 36 focus groups were conducted across the state to share the intended changes and learn whether practitioners thought these revisions would result in more meaningful outcomes. In May 2018, West Comprehensive Center provided an internal report to CDE that analyzed 19 focus groups (teachers, principals and district leaders) and pilot participant surveys about the refinements made to the teacher rubric. The input gained from focus groups went back to the technical working group for further revisions.
  3. Pilot. The new rubric was piloted during the 2017–18 school year in 50 districts and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services with built-in feedback loops on the revisions to determine whether the streamlined tool allowed more time for meaningful feedback. Colorado is currently analyzing the data generated by the pilot.

To support the revised tool, CDE has five regional specialists who provide coaching to support pilot districts implementing the revised rubric, and eventually will assist all users in their respective region.

Year 2 Work

In Year 2, CDE will continue to refine the teacher evaluation rubric based on the ongoing pilot; however, the state is also expanding the work to include a revision and update to the principal/assistant principal evaluation model. By establishing a Technical Working Group and convening a series of focus groups around the state, CDE is working to align the teacher and principal frameworks to ensure principal supervisors can offer higher-quality feedback to principals specifically focused on better instructional practices for teachers.


Courtney Cabrera
Educator Effectiveness Supervisor
Educator Talent
Colorado Department of Education