Teacher Evalution Tool

Each school district has policies and procedures for evaluating teachers, but sometimes these tools do not address their work with children who are significantly developmentally delayed and functioning under a developmental level of 4 years old. Additionally administrators may not be familiar with the philosophy and principles that guide instruction using an Active Learning approach as designed by Dr. Lilli Nielsen. 

We have attempted to develop a guidance document for these administrators when they attempt to evaluate teachers using this approach with a student. Below is an example of this document which can be downloaded. It is designed based on standards for the state of Texas and utilized resources particular to the Active Learning Space website and the Texas Deafblind Project website.

Evaluation of Teacher Using Active Learning


Date of Evaluation:

Total Points Awarded:


Child Using Active Learning:





Evidence of Teacher Knowledge and Skills

What the Student Does



Standards & Alignment
  1. Academic goals are aligned to state content standards and are developmentally appropriate based on assessed developmental age of the student
  2. Technology (Active Learning equipment/materials) is being used to support mastery of lesson’s goals in academic areas and are adapted to student’s sensory and motor abilities
  3. Segment of the academic lesson provides for sufficient time for student work and the adult-child interaction
  4. Lesson structure and pacing match the learner’s needs
  5. Lesson addresses scaffolded learning and complex concepts as it progresses
  6. Functional skills are integrated and supported in the lesson
  • Interacts with materials and environments that are the focus of the academic lesson
  • Uses Active Learning equipment and materials in a way that reflects familiarity with the activity
  • Explores at his/her own pace and own way and is not interrupted by the teacher or teacher’s directions
  • Indicates desire to shortened or lengthened activity
  • Indicates boredom or inactivity when activity is not interesting or learning has stopped and when ready for new challenges
  • Practices gross/fine motor skills, sensory skills, communication, and/or social/emotional skills during lesson

___/15 points


2 points for each item with up to 3 points for excellence

Data & Assessment
  1. Within 6 weeks of receiving student has completed or updated at least gross / fine movement, visual, auditory, spatial and object perception, and language sections of Functional Scheme
  2. By year’s end all sections of the Functional Scheme are completed and/or updated OR updates Functional Scheme Assessment at least 2 times per year
  3. Other required assessment has been done by related service staff, TVI, TDHH and/or TDB
  4. Completes regular progress observation and documentation on each activity/learning environment student uses related to specific IEP goals
  5. Adjusts learning activities based on progress/lack of progress on IEP goals
  6. Reviews progress regularly with IEP team and family through meetings and/or reports

Shows progress in goals / benchmarks for at least 2 items each regular reporting period (6 weeks) based on collected data

___/20 points


3 points for each item with up to 2 points for excellence

Knowledge of the Student
  1. Knows the child’s approximate social and emotional developmental levels
  2. Reduces or increases demands made on the student in response to the child’s behavior
  3. Utilizes strategies to illicit a positive response and continued engagement with the child
  4. Knows the specific IEP goals related to child’s interaction skills (communication, social/emotional domains) and appropriate student response
  5. Can explain the adult’s role in utilizing any of the five phases of educational treatments
  6. Shows the ability to respond to the student’s behavior, follow his lead and use appropriate interaction techniques (reduce demands, slow pacing, extend wait time, use hand-under-hand guidance/modeling, allows short breaks for child to process during activity, does not talk excessively during activity or interrupt the child’s exploration of learning environments, uses turn-taking and serve-and-return interactions)
  • Tolerates the adult working with him/her
  • Seeks to make contact with or interact with the adult by imitating, offering objects, playing turn-taking games, participating in familiar routines, returning to the adult after taking a short break
  • Attempts a step in a familiar activity or game
  • Communicates acceptance or rejection of activity
  • Shows increased ability to self-regulate when experiencing stress or novelty




2 points for each item with up to 4 points for excellence

  1. Uses appropriate communication techniques based on the child’s sensory abilities and language development to include tactile, auditory, and/or visual strategies, e.g. tactile cues, object symbols, tactile symbols, signs, spoken word, gestures
  2. Targets language at the child’s developmental level using short, simple words and phrases and consistent vocabulary during lessons
  3. Notices and responds to student’s attempts to communicate through bodily-tactile signals, signs, vocalizations, gestures, object symbols, etc.
  4. Uses appropriate level of calendar system for VI or DB to organize the day for the student
  5. Uses scripted routines for activities of daily living.
  • Uses gestures, signs, vocalizations, object symbols, and/or tactile symbols for both receptive and expressive communication during the activity
  • Requests or rejects offered materials and activities
  • Comments using bodily-tactile methods, signs, vocalizations, etc. during interactions with adult
  • Responds to calendar symbols in such a way that indicates understanding of the next activity

___20 points


3 points for each item with up to 5 points for excellence

Activities (including use of equipment and learning environment design)
  1. Selects appropriate equipment based on IEP goals and child’s ability. Sets up and safely uses equipment as it was designed and checks materials for safety
  2. Plans activities and designs learning environments that are based on the student’s interests and preferences
  3. Uses materials in all activities that include many common objects made of various materials and with attention to sensory channel abilities
  4. Designs learning environments to target specific student goals in the IEP in either academic and/or functional skills areas
  5. Uses signs of student habituation to the activity to indicate a need for novelty to be introduced to the activity or learning environment
  6. Provides opportunities for student interactions with peers in some activities each day
  7. Adapts group activities so that student can access fully and respond at his/her developmental level independently or with only limited support
  8. Provides activities that include both independent play and adult-child interactions throughout the day
  • Appears comfortable using the equipment after a short time
  • Extends the amount of time they will play when positioned in/on equipment
  • Shows curiosity and attempts to explore objects (grasps, bangs, mouths, etc.)
  • Is active throughout the day and not idle or asleep for long periods of time
  • Completes a schedule of learning activities that fill the entire day with little down time

___/20 points


2 points for each item with up to 4 points for excellence

Family Training and Support
  1. Has informed family about Active Learning Space website and newsletter, online training courses, and webinars.
  2. Can answer questions about equipment, materials, techniques being used
  3. Shares pictures, video and other communication regularly with family about activities and child’s progress
  • Is reported to participate in similar activities in the home environment.
  • Is reported to demonstrate targeted skills in the home environment.

___/5 points


1 point for each item with up to 2 points for excellence