The Marzano Scale and the Fosbury Flop: Why

Wondering how teachers reach “innovating” on the performance scale? By doing just that.

Before 1968, elite high-jumpers had used the same techniques for decades. In the beginning days of the sport, before the advent of foam landing pads, jumpers had to perform the jump in such a way as to land safely. Even with the advent of foam landing pads, though, elite high-jumpers continued to hone and perfect the same old techniques. Dick Fosbury, to the amusement of virtually everyone and the mockery of many, decided to take advantage of the safe landing pad and jumped over backwards, landing on his back on the other side of the bar. 

The chuckling didn’t last long; he won the gold medal and set new records.

In the 1972 Olympics virtually every single high-jumper was using his backwards technique, termed the Fosbury Flop, and it remains the standard technique to this day. One solitary man innovated a new technique and changed how everyone performed the high-jump, and records were smashed left and right. The Fosbury Flop worked. The impact was practically instantaneous.

Which brings us to the Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model, which was designed to have Innovating as the highest performance rating level, something every teacher should aspire to attain. Instead of a global, binary approach (e.g., satisfactory vs. unsatisfactory), the Marzano Model uses a 5-point scale for each individual element of deliberate practice focus. 

Levels of Performance
Example from Domain 1: Processing New Information
Innovating (4) Applying (3) Developing (2) Beginning (1) Not Using (0)
The teacher adapts and creates new strategies for unique student needs and situations. The teacher engages students in summarizing, predicting, and questioning activities and monitors the extent to which the activities enhance student understanding. The teacher engages students in summarizing, predicting, and questioning activities. The teacher uses the strategy incorrectly or with parts missing. The strategy was called for but not exhibited.

The teachers we know are never satisfied with merely ‘correctly’ using a strategy. They desire to be innovators.  The Marzano Model is a living, breathing system. Not only is it based on decades of research, but ongoing research. Dedicated teachers at the Innovating level are coming up with new ways to drive student gains. 

In what ways have you innovated a new strategy? Have you innovated your own Fosbury Flop, something that can take students to new heights? Let us know!

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