Collective Responsibility

Collective responsibility means that the teachers in an academy consider themselves responsible as a group for each student’s growth and development. This breaks the traditional mold of each teacher being considered the only one responsible for the students in their class. While it is certainly true that one teacher might have the most frequent contact with a particular set of students, this doesn’t mean that multiple teachers collectively and substantively shouldn’t share in fostering the development of students. Academy teachers can practice collective responsibility in four ways: recording evidence, recording summative scores,
transitions, and support for individual students. Below are excerpts from the Marzano Academy Implementation Manual covering recording evidence and transitions.

Recording Evidence

One of the best ways to manifest collective responsibility is to have multiple teachers submit evidence scores for students not specifically in their class. To accomplish this, specific teachers would be designated as responsible for entering evidence scores for specific topics for any students working on those topics. For example, consider mathematics measurement topics at
the fifth grade level. Certainly the fifth grade mathematics teacher would be responsible for entering evidence scores for these topics, but the science teacher might also be responsible for entering evidence scores for a small set of those mathematics topics because they fit in well with what the science teacher is addressing.

Another version of collective responsibility for entering evidence scores is for time to be set aside during the school day when students can work with teachers of their choice on specific measurement topics. These teachers would provide instruction to those students who come to them but would also assess students and enter evidence scores based on their interactions with the teacher.


One of the most important types of decisions teachers in an academy must make is when students are ready to move up to the next level for a specific subject area. Teachers who have been involved in entering evidence scores or determining current summative scores should meet periodically to determine if specific students should be moved up to a higher level of content (e.g., from grade 4 mathematics to grade 5 mathematics). For some students, deliberation might focus on whether they should be moved down a level. Of course, the ability ensure smooth transitions for students is inherently tied to: 1) working effectively in collaborative teams and 2) flexible scheduling.

Academy teachers should work together in collaborative teams as a matter of course. Indeed, meeting in collaborative teams is at the core of the professional learning community (PLC) process. However, within an academy, such collaboration goes well beyond simply designing and scoring common assessments. As described above, collaborative teachers should be examining patterns of evidence scores and making decisions about current summative scores. Decisions about which students move up or down in levels should be a natural consequence of and well informed by close examinations of students’ profiles on specific measurement topics.

Scheduling can be one of the most challenging aspects of an academy, particularly if a pure competency-­based approach is being used. The most straightforward way to have smooth transitions from one level to another for students is to have a schedule in which students have access to different levels of instruction at the same time as they were receiving instruction in their current level. For example, in elementary schools all reading might be taught at the same time. Thus, if a particular student needs to move up a grade level in reading then he or she simply does so during the same time frame. In high school, sequential courses (e.g., Algebra I
and Algebra II) might be taught at the same time , providing for rather easy transitions.

Of course many schools do not have the luxury of such options. In these cases, schools commonly rely on developing a strong system of blended instruction (see section V of the Implementation Manual), which allows students to receive instruction and take assessments on their own and work at their own pace even outside of regular school hours.

Finally, schools commonly embed at least one period a day into the schedule during which they can work on measurement topics individually or in small groups. Some schools refer to this period as WIN time, which stands for What I Need.