Teacher Performance Evaluation: Instructional Planning

Since this Teacher Evaluation Process is so new to everyone, I started a series of posts to help guide everyone through the wilderness.  If you missed my first post on Standard One you can find it here.  These are all based off of the Virginia requirements (so expect to see the word SOL a lot), but for other states with waivers, it seems the requirements are very similar.

Hope this post helps…

Planning circle by VMFoliaki

Standard Two: Instructional Planning

Here is what your principal needs to see:

  • Aligns lesson objectives to the state Standards of Learning (SOL), the school’s curriculum, and student learning needs.
  • Uses student learning data to guide planning.
  • Plans time realistically for pacing, content mastery, and transitions.
  • Plans for differentiated instruction.
  • Develop appropriate long-and-short range plans and adapts plans when needed.
  • Plans for student use of technology

Ok this all makes sense.  Effective teachers are more than likely already practicing these planning strategies.

But how do you impress your evaluator?

Most principals are just as excited about this process as you.  Photo by Fort Meade.

Most principals are just as excited about this process as you. Photo by Fort Meade.

If you teach an SOL course with an End of Course Test (Virginia Teachers), then it is hard to imagine you are not already doing all of these planning behaviors.  If you teach a subject area without an SOL End of Course Test, I imagine the easiest way to impress your principal is to use the word “SOL” in your plans as much as possible.

Two summers ago, I attended a week long workshop/course where I had to design lessons for various classes that could use technology.  In every lesson I had to include the technology SOLs and the specific subject SOLs.  We were given the content topic and then had to develop the lesson.  I was much surprised how, with a little bit of research, I could find an SOL relative to all of the topics.  It may be some extra work, but your job is now evaluated based on how you represent yourself concerning these seven standards.

Here are the SOL links if you need them:




History and Social Science

Family Life

Economics and Personal Finance

Fine Arts

Foreign Languages 

Health and Physical Education

And if you are in a school district that still teaches the kids how to drive — Driver Education.

How to achieve Proficient.

This should be the realistic goal for most teachers.  When I went through this last year I was not given any specific nomenclature regarding what defines Proficient and what defines Exemplary (I was given this for the other six standards.) So I decided to come up with the definition on my own.  And to be Proficient, I believe the teacher should demonstrate that his or her planning shows that he/she has lined up the class activities/lessons with the curriculum. This also lines up with how the students are assessed.

success funnelLike I said in Standard One, this is likely what you are doing already, but now you have to show it.


I am really not sure what separates the proficient and the exemplary.  But maybe this will help:

In one of my evaluations I achieved a proficient for standard two and here is some of my feedback:

Aligns lesson objectives to state SOLs and plans for appropriate pacing and transitions.

Fair enough, that sounds like what I do, and that sounds proficient.

In another evaluation I achieved the almighty exemplary for this standard:

Strong planning is evident in the variety of teaching strategies observed.  All of the activities observed are clearly intended to move the students toward conceptual mastery.  Transitions are clearly planned to eliminate waste time.

Woohoo! I sound awesome!  Give me an exemplary!

Long story short, I am not sure what to tell you on this one other than do what you are supposed to and remember proficient is our goal anyway.

Ok so now what do you include in your portfolio to prove you plan your instruction proficiently?instructional planning by grace_kat


  •  Pacing guide, curriculum map, course syllabus.  I included everything I use as my framework for the two courses I teach.  I worked a little extra to put it in an understandable format, but other than that this piece was minimal work.
  • Differentiation in lesson planning and practice. I included multiple examples of lesson plans where I differentiated instruction.  I am not good at writing out plans that an observer can understand, but I had several that I had written while acquiring my master’s.
  • Data driven curriculum revision work. My entire framework adjusts according to how my assessments turn out but I had to think of how to prove this.  So I included some examples of “remediation” type lessons I implement to re-teach the learning.

Examples can include: (these are the examples indicated in a handout I received)

  • Sample lesson or unit plan
  • Course syllabus
  • Intervention plan
  • Substitute lesson plan
  • Annotated learning objectives

I will publish the next installment in this series in the next couple of weeks.  Sign up for a free subscription so you don’t miss!

If anyone has any questions about the Teacher Performance Evaluation please ask in the comments section.

Featured Image by MDGovpics.  All other pics courtesy identified by photo title.




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