What is the Thoughtful Classroom Teacher Effectiveness Framework?

TCTEF Brochure

Click here to download PDF.


The Thoughtful Classroom Teacher Effectiveness Framework (TCTEF) is a comprehensive system for observing, evaluating, and refining classroom practice. Designed in partnership with over 250 teachers and administrators, the ultimate goal of the Framework is to create a common language for talking about high-quality teaching and how classroom practice can be improved. Aligned to key themes in the Common Core and various state teaching standards, the Framework makes the work of aligning teacher evaluation with standards easier than ever before.

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Learn More About the TCTEF

TCTEF Basic Rubric

TCTEF in the Media
State Approval Documentation


TCTEF Quick Guide

View a TCTEF Presentation (click screen to play)


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How is the TCTEF organized?

The Framework is made up of ten dimensions organized into three components:

Each instructional dimension

  • • outlines a set of observable teaching indicators
       and relevant student behaviors associated with effective instruction.
  • • includes a four-point rubric for conducting summative evaluations.
  • • provides a simple feedback protocol to help administrators provide
       meaningful feedback to teachers.
  • • is guided by an "Essential Question" to help focus classroom observation.

Click here to see a sample dimension (Dimension 5: Preparing Students for New Learning)

The Thoughtful Classroom Teacher Effectiveness Framework Detail

The Four Cornerstones of Effective Teaching
(Dimensions 1-4)

Around the Framework you will find the Four Cornerstones of Effective Teaching. These cornerstones represent the universal elements of quality instruction, whether in a kindergarten class, AP Physics lab, or anywhere in between. Without these four cornerstones in place, student learning will be compromised.

The Four Cornerstones:

  • 1. Organization, Rules, and Procedures
  • 2. Positive Relationships
  • 3. Engagement and Enjoyment
  • 4. A Culture of Thinking and Learning

The Thoughtful Classroom Teacher Effectiveness Framework Detail

The Five Episodes of Effective Instruction
(Dimensions 5-9)

While there are clear and universal elements to good instruction, it is also true that good instruction tends to unfold in a series of distinct learning episodes. By synthesizing the best research on instructional design (Hunter, 1984; Marzano, 2007; Wiggins & McTighe, 2005), we’ve identified five critical episodes that increase the likelihood of deep learning. In these five episodes, teachers work towards distinct instructional purposes:

  • 5. Preparing Students for New Learning
  • 6. Presenting New Learning
  • 7. Deepening and Reinforcing Learning
  • 8. Applying Learning
  • 9. Reflecting on and Celebrating Learning

Understanding these five episodes—and their driving purposes—is critical for both the teacher and the observer. Teachers use these episodes to design high-quality lessons and units. For classroom observations, these five episodes immediately orient the observer within the instructional sequence, ensuring that teachers and observers are “on the same page.”

The Thoughtful Classroom Teacher Effectiveness Framework Detail

Effective Professional Practice:
Looking Beyond the Classroom

(Dimension 10)

The Framework also includes a tenth dimension focused on professional practice. This dimension addresses important non-instructional responsibilities, including the teacher’s commitment to ongoing learning, professionalism, and the school community.

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TCTEF Electronic Implementation

In order to fully automate the teacher evaluation process, improve data management, and target professional development to teachers’ needs, Silver Strong & Associates is proud to announce that we have developed partnerships with a number of technology providers.

The TCTEF is fully automated using Standard For Success software developed by:
Standard For Success

The TCTEF is also compatible with: Green Bar

Contact Us!

We understand that choosing a teacher evaluation system is a complex decision. If at any time you'd like more information, have any questions, or would like to schedule a webinar or more detailed “walk through” of the Framework, just give us a call or send us an email.