I read an interesting article yesterday (check out the original here if you're so inclined) about how Charlotte Danielson, the "inventor" of the modern educator effectiveness checklist, has rejected the method in which her original framework is being used. The "Danielson Framework" (which like many "theories" and "frameworks" in education is just a list of stuff people already do without thinking/labeling) states that good teaching consists of four major categories: Preparation, Classroom Environment, Instruction, and Professionalism. Within each of these "domains" are a series of more specific criteria designed to measure if the teacher is truly a "master teacher" or not. (Excuse the excessive use of quotes and parentheses....it's the only way to parse out the buzzwords). The model is now part of the PA state evaluation system and something that every teacher is well acquainted with
The problem with the framework, as any teacher knows, is that while the domains are logical and the criteria valid, not all criteria is relevant everyday, in every room, for every teacher. Additionally, it's extremely difficult to measure a teacher simply by using a checklist without running into some sort of user error. An administrator determined to mark a teacher "proficient" or "needs improvement" will almost certainly be able to find defects, while another might find a teacher "distinguished" in all categories. The checklist does little to help standardize the process...the burden still rests solely on the administrators (who may or may not be certified experts in teaching).
Danielson herself has recently come out against this use of her model. It's not that she disagrees with what she wrote, but simply how it's being used now as The Standard by which all teachers are measured. In fact, the framework was only meant as a guide to teaching teachers to teach, and helping administrators understand what to look for in the event they weren't instructional experts by trade. While Ms. Danielson is likely ashamed...all the way to the bank...it's still telling that the creator has spoken out against the current interpretation.
Of course this isn't meant to be an indictment of local administrators, they're just following the state rules. This is typically the case anytime a large government agency (or any large agency) attempts to solve a complex problem en masse. Eventually, it's just going to be a bigger headache than the original ways.