ALABAMA QUALITY TEACHING STANDARDS
Pursuant to the mission of improving the academic achievement of all students in the public
schools of Alabama, teachers will align their practice and professional learning with the following
Standard 1-Content Knowledge: To improve the learning of all students, teachers master
the disciplines related to their teaching fields including the central concepts, important facts and
skills, and tools of inquiry; they anchor content in learning experiences that make the subject
matter meaningful for all students.
Rationale. Researchers identify a strong relationship between teachers' content knowledge and
the achievement of their students. Three dimensions of content knowledge contribute to effective
teaching: (1) deep knowledge of the academic disciplines related to the subjects of instruction, (2)
an understanding of pedagogical content knowledge that is required to make the subject
understandable and meaningful for all learners, and (3) knowledge of the state standards and
district curriculum for subjects taught at particular instructional levels.
A. Academic Discipline(s)
1. Knowledge of the structure of the academic disciplines related to the subject-matter content areas
of instruction and of the important facts and central concepts, principles, theories, and
tools of inquiry associated with these disciplines.
2. Knowledge of ways to organize and present content so that it is meaningful and engaging
to all learners whom they teach (pedagogical content knowledge).
3. Ability to use students' prior knowledge and experiences to introduce new subject-area
4. Ability to identify student assumptions and preconceptions about the content of a subject
area and to adjust instruction in consideration of these prior understandings.
5. Ability to help students make connections across the curriculum in order to promote
retention and transfer of knowledge to real-life settings.
1. Knowledge of the content standards and of the scope and sequence of the subject areas
of one's teaching fields as defined in the Alabama courses of study for those teaching fields.
2. Ability to provide accommodations, modifications, and/or adaptations to the general
curriculum to meet the needs of each individual learner.
3. Ability to select content and appropriately design and develop instructional activities to
address the scope and sequence of the curriculum.
Standard 2-Teaching and Learning: To increase the achievement of every student,
teachers draw upon a thorough understanding of learning and development; recognize the role of
families in supporting learning; design a student centered learning environment; and use researchbased
instructional and assessment strategies that motivate, engage, and maximize the learning of
Rationale. Instruction and assessment are the vehicles by which teachers design and deliver
rigorous and relevant learning experiences for all learners. Research provides compelling evidence
relating student achievement to teachers' use of appropriate instructional strategies selected from
a rich repertoire based in research and best practice. Researchers have also found a strong
classroom learning culture that is strategically organized and managed to be essential to effective
use of these strategies.
A. Human Development
1. Knowledge of the physical, emotional, and social development of young people and of the
relationship of these to learning readiness and to cognitive development.
2. Knowledge of the role of language in learning.
3. Knowledge of the general characteristics of disabilities and of their impact on cognitive
development and learning.
4. Knowledge of developmentally appropriate instructional and management strategies.
5. Ability to teach explicit cognitive, metacognitive, and other learning strategies to support
students in becoming more successful learners.
6. Ability to use knowledge about human learning and development in the design of a
learning environment and learning experiences that will optimize each student's
7. Ability to recognize individual variations in learning and development that exceed the
typical range and use this information to provide appropriate learning experiences.
B. Organization and Management
1. Knowledge of the importance of developing learning objectives based on the Alabama
courses of study and the needs, interests, and abilities of students.
2. Knowledge of the principles underpinning a sound age-appropriate classroom organization
and management plan and of supportive behavior management strategies.
3. Knowledge of the components and characteristics of collaboratively designed and
implemented individual behavioral support plans.
4. Knowledge of conflict resolution strategies, school emergency response procedures, and
5. Ability to plan and implement equitable and effective student access to available
technology and other resources to enhance student learning.
6. Ability to plan teaching and learning experiences that are congruent with the Alabama
courses of study and appropriate for diverse learners.
7. Ability to collect and use data to plan, monitor, and improve instruction.
8. Ability to organize, allocate, and manage the resources of time, space, and activities to
support the learning of every student.
9. Ability to organize, use, and monitor a variety of flexible student groupings and
instructional strategies to support differentiated instruction.
C. Learning Environment
1. Knowledge of norms and structures that contribute to a safe and stimulating learning
2. Knowledge of factors and situations that promote or diminish intrinsic motivation.
3. Ability to develop a positive relationship with every student and to take action to promote
positive social relationships among students, including students from different backgrounds
4. Ability to communicate with parents and/or families to support students' understanding of
5. Ability to create learning environments that increase intrinsic motivation and optimize
student engagement and learning.
6. Ability to use individual behavioral support plans to proactively respond to the needs of all
7. Ability to create a print-/language-rich environment that develops/extends students' desire
and ability to read, write, speak, and listen.
8. Ability to encourage students to assume increasing responsibility for themselves and to
support one another's learning.
D. Instructional Strategies
1. Knowledge of research and theory underpinning effective teaching and learning.
2. Knowledge of a wide range of research-based instructional strategies and the advantages and
disadvantages associated with each.
3. Knowledge of strategies that promote retention as well as transfer of learning and the
relationship between these two learning outcomes.
4. Knowledge of the importance of parents and/or families as active partners in planning and
supporting student learning.
5. Ability to select and support the use of instructional and assistive technologies and to
integrate these into a coherent instructional design.
6. Ability to make developmentally appropriate choices in selecting teaching strategies to
assist diverse learners in meeting instructional objectives.
7. Ability to evaluate, select, and integrate a variety of strategies such as cooperative
learning, discussion, discovery, problem-based learning, and direct instruction into a
coherent lesson design.
8. Ability to adjust instruction in response to information gathered from ongoing monitoring of
performance via formative assessment.
9. Ability to use questions and questioning to assist all students in developing skills and
strategies in critical and high order thinking and problem solving.
10. Ability to use strategies that promote the independence, self-control, personal
responsibility, and self-advocacy of all students.
1. Knowledge of the purposes, strengths, and limitations of formative and summative
assessment and of formal and informal assessment strategies.
2. Knowledge of the relationship between assessment and learning and of how to
integrate appropriate assessments into all stages of the learning process.
3. Knowledge of measurement-related issues such as validity, reliability, norms, bias,
scoring concerns, and ethical uses of tests and test results.
4. Knowledge of current Alabama assessment requirements and procedures.
5. Ability to design and use a variety of approaches to formal and informal
assessment to plan instruction, monitor student understanding and progress
toward learning, modify teaching and learning strategies, and measure and report
student progress related to learning objectives.
6. Ability to collaborate with others to design and score common assessments and to
use results to share and compare instructional practice and plan new instruction.
7. Ability to collaborate with others to incorporate accommodations into all
assessments as appropriate.
8. Ability to provide a variety of ways for students with diverse needs, including
students with disabilities, to demonstrate their learning.
9. Ability to develop rubrics and to teach students how to use them to assess their
10. Ability to develop and select appropriate performance assessments.
11. Ability to engage all students in assessing and understanding their own learning
12. Ability to interpret and use reports from state assessments and results of other
assessments to design both group and individual learning experiences.
Standard 3-Literacy: To improve student learning and achievement, teachers use
knowledge of effective oral and written communications, reading, mathematics, and technology to
facilitate and support direct instruction, active inquiry, collaboration, and positive interaction.
Rationale. Research clearly indicates that one of the strongest correlates to effective teaching is a
high level of literacy. Not only do effective teachers demonstrate effective use of the spoken and
written language, reading, mathematics, and technology, they also model and actively teach their
students the fundamentals of reading, writing, and oral communications across all content areas.
Additionally, in this culture where technology is ubiquitous, teachers demonstrate mastery of
appropriate instructional technology and integrate technology into instruction of their subject areas.
A. Oral and Written Communications
1. Knowledge of standard oral and written communications.
2. Knowledge of the impact of native language and linguistic background on language
3. Knowledge of media communication technologies that enrich learning opportunities.
4. Ability to model appropriate oral and written communications.
5. Ability to demonstrate appropriate communication strategies that include questioning and
active and reflective listening.
6. Ability to foster effective verbal and nonverbal communications during ongoing instruction
using assistive technologies as appropriate.
7. Ability to integrate skill development in oral and written communications into all content
areas that one teaches.
8. Ability to use effective nonverbal communication and respond appropriately to nonverbal
cues from students.
1. Knowledge of strategies associated with accelerated, highly specialized, explicit
instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension that
significantly expands and increases students' pace of learning and competence in reading,
writing, speaking, and listening.
2. Knowledge of assessment tools to monitor the acquisition of reading strategies, to improve
reading instruction, and to identify students who require additional instruction.
3. Ability to integrate reading instruction into all content areas that one teaches.
4. Ability to stimulate interest in and foster appreciation for the written word, promote reading
growth, and increase the motivation of students to read widely and independently for
information and pleasure.
1. Knowledge of the role that mathematics plays in everyday life.
2. Knowledge of the concepts and relationships in number systems.
3. Knowledge of the appropriate use of various types of reasoning, including inductive,
deductive, spatial and proportional, and understanding of valid and invalid forms of
4. Knowledge of both metric and customary measurement and fundamental geometric
concepts, including shapes and their properties and relationships.
5. Ability to solve problems using different strategies, to verify and interpret results, and to
6. Ability to communicate with others about mathematical concepts, processes, and symbols.
1. Knowledge of available and emerging technologies that support the learning of all
2. Knowledge of the wide range of technologies that support and enhance instruction,
including classroom and school resources as well as distance learning and online learning
3. Ability to integrate technology into the teaching of all content areas.
4. Ability to facilitate students' individual and collaborative use of technology, including
classroom resources as well as distance and online learning opportunities when available
5. Ability to use technology to assess student progress and manage records.
6. Ability to evaluate students' technology proficiency and students' technology-based
products within content areas.
Standard 4-Diversity: To improve the learning of all students, teachers differentiate
instruction in ways that exhibit a deep understanding of how cultural, ethnic, and social
background; second language learning; special needs; exceptionalities; and learning styles affect
student motivation, cognitive processing, and academic performance.
Rationale. Teachers who respect and build upon diversity create a learning environment in which
all students feel valued and supported in their learning. Respect for diversity grows out of
knowledge of differences, including differences in students' cultural, ethnic, language, social, and
experiential backgrounds; differences in their physical, emotional, and social development;
differences in their readiness for a particular curricular goal; and differences in their learning styles
and strengths. Teachers have a rich understanding of these and other important areas of diversity
as well as knowledge of curricular and instructional modifications that improve the learning of the
wide range of individual learners in their classrooms.
A. Cultural, Ethnic and Social Diversity
1. Knowledge of the ways in which student learning is influenced by individual experiences and
out-of-school learning, including language and family/community values and conditions.
2. Knowledge of cultural, ethnic, gender, linguistic, and socio-economic differences and of
how these may affect individual learner needs, preferences, and styles.
3. Knowledge of the characteristics of one's own culture and use of language and of how
they differ from other cultures.
4. Ability to develop culturally responsive curriculum and instruction, i.e., model, teach, and
integrate multicultural awareness, acceptance, and appreciation into ongoing instruction.
5. Ability to communicate in ways that demonstrate sensitivity to diversity such as
appropriate use of eye contact, interpretation of body language and verbal statements, and
acknowledgement of and responsiveness to different modes of communication and
B. Language Diversity
1. Knowledge of the process of second language acquisition and strategies to support the
learning of students whose first language is not English.
2. Ability to differentiate between learner difficulties that are related to cognitive or skill
development and those that relate to language learning.
3. Ability to collaborate with teachers of English language learners and to assist those
students with full integration into the regular classroom.
C. Special Needs
1. Knowledge of the major areas of exceptionality in learning, including the range of physical
and mental disabilities, social and emotional disorders, giftedness, dyslexia, and attention
2. Knowledge of the indicators of the need for special education services.
3. Ability to identify and refer students for diagnosis for special services.
4. Ability to address learning differences and disabilities that are prevalent in an inclusive
D. Learning Styles
1. Knowledge of research and theory related to learning styles and multiple intelligences.
2. Knowledge of a range of curricular materials and technologies to support the cognitive
development of diverse learners.
3. Ability to help students assess their own learning styles and to build upon identified
4. Ability to design learning experiences that engage all learning styles.
1. Knowledge of how personal/cultural biases can affect teaching and learning.
2. Ability to involve families, community agencies and organizations, and colleagues in
helping support academic achievement of diverse learners.
3. Ability to create a learning community in which individual differences are respected.
4. Ability to assess and diagnose individual student's contexts, strengths, and learning needs
and to tailor curriculum and teaching to address these personal characteristics.
Standard 5-Professionalism: To increase the achievement of all students, teachers
engage in continuous learning and self improvement; collaborate with colleagues to create and
adopt research-based best practices to achieve ongoing classroom and school improvement; and
adhere to the Alabama Educator Code of Ethics and federal, state, and local laws and policies.
Rationale. Current research relates teacher collaboration, shared responsibility for student
learning, and job-embedded learning in professional community to higher levels of student
achievement. This research challenges the independence and isolation that has historically
characterized the teaching profession and calls for deprivatization of practice. An underlying
premise of professional learning communities is the power of ongoing, continuous learning that
takes place in a culture where risk and experimentation are rewarded. In schools where there is a
strong professional community, teachers actively participate in creating and sustaining such a
learning environment and in maintaining its focus upon improved student learning. Beyond
collaboration, teachers exhibit professionalism by demonstrating a personal commitment to
continuous learning and improvement; by adhering to high ethical standards; and by maintaining
currency with regard to federal, state, and local laws and policies. Teachers assume increased
leadership for schoolwide improvement initiatives and for mentoring of colleagues as they move
along their professional pathways.
1. Knowledge of the purposes, processes, structures, and potential benefits associated with
collaboration and teaming.
2. Knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of members of different types of teams
including, but not limited to, Building Based Student Support Teams.
3. Knowledge of roles and responsibilities of para-educators and other paraprofessionals.
4. Ability to involve parents and/or families as active partners in planning and supporting
5. Ability to share instructional responsibility for students with diverse needs, including
students with disabilities, and to develop collaborative teaching relationships and
6. Ability to share responsibility for all students' learning across the school and collaborate
with colleagues to support every student's growth.
7. Ability to participate as reflective members of different types of teams including, but not
limited to, Building Based Student Support Teams.
8. Ability to collaborate in the planning of instruction for an expanded curriculum in general
education to include Individual Education Plans and other plans such as Section 504 goals
for students with disabilities.
9. Ability to communicate and collaborate effectively with colleagues, students, parents,
guardians, and significant agency personnel who are included and valued equally as
10. Ability to exhibit the professional dispositions delineated in professional, state, and
institutional standards while working with students, colleagues, families, and communities.
B. Continuous, Lifelong Professional Learning
1. Knowledge of a range of professional literature, particularly resources that relate to one's
own teaching field(s).
2. Knowledge of a range of professional learning opportunities, including job-embedded
learning, district- and state-sponsored workshops, university offerings, and online and
3. Knowledge of the processes and skills associated with peer coaching and mentoring.
4. Ability to articulate and reflect on a personal philosophy and its relationship to teaching
practice and professional learning choices and commitments.
5. Ability to use best practices, professional literature, and collegial assistance to improve as
a teacher and a learner.
6. Ability and willingness to inquire into one's own practice by designing action research to
determine the effectiveness of identified instructional strategies.
7. Ability to participate in the creation and nurturance of a learning environment that supports
standards-based inquiry, reflective practice, and collaborative learning for teachers at all
stages of their careers.
C. Alabama-Specific Improvement Initiatives
1. Knowledge of current and emerging state initiatives and programs including, but not
limited to, the Alabama Reading Initiative (ARI); the Alabama Math, Science, and
Technology Initiative (AMSTI); and Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators and
Students Statewide (ACCESS) and their relationship to student achievement.
2. Knowledge of Alabama's state assessment requirements and processes.
3. Ability to integrate statewide programs and initiatives into the curriculum and instructional
4. Ability to communicate with students, parents, and the public about Alabama's
assessment system and major state educational improvement initiatives.
D. School Improvement
1. Knowledge of research relating collective responsibility for student learning to increased
achievement for all students.
2. Knowledge of the principles of individual and organizational change and a commitment to
assume personal responsibility for leading and supporting others in results-oriented changes.
3. Ability to participate in school improvement planning by working collaboratively with teams
focused on specific improvement initiatives.
4. Ability to assume increased leadership responsibility in school, district, and state
improvement initiatives over the course of one's professional career.
1. Knowledge of appropriate professional behavior and dispositions expected of professionals
as outlined in the Alabama Educator Code of Ethics.
2. Knowledge of safe, responsible, legal, and ethical uses of technologies including fair-use
and copyright guidelines and Internet-user protection policies.
3. Ability to use and maintain confidential student information in an ethical and professional
4. Ability to practice safe, responsible, legal, and ethical use of technology and comply with
school and district acceptable-use policies including fair-use and copyright guidelines and
Internet-user protection policies.
F. Local, State, Federal Laws and Policies
1. Knowledge of laws related to students' and teachers' rights and responsibilities and the
importance of complying with those laws, including major principles of federal disabilities
legislation (IDEA, Section 504 and ADA), as well as Alabama statutes on child abuse and
neglect, and the importance of complying with those laws.
2. Ability to access school, community, state, and other resources and referral services.
3. Ability to access resources to gain information about federal, state, district, and school
policies and procedures.
4. Ability to keep accurate records including IEPs, especially records related to federal, state
and district policies, and other records with legal implications.