How It Works

The IF Rubric

The Instructional Framework (IF) Rubric describes eight best practices identified by leading research as characteristics of effective teaching. Teachers can use the rubric as a benchmark for planning and implementing research- and standards-based instruction that promotes the 4Cs of 21st-Century Learning and supports students with diverse abilities, interests and learning preferences. The rubric can also serve as a tool to provide specific, targeted feedback through leader or peer observation or video-facilitated self-reflection.

The IF Crosswalk

The IF Crosswalk provides information on the research used to develop the IF Rubric. For each indicator, the Crosswalk compares the IF Rubric to five other high-quality education frameworks and tools, including:

  • The Danielson Framework Rubric
  • Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model
  • Understanding by Design Rubric
  • New Teacher Project Core Teaching Rubric
  • Insight Core Framework Rubric

The IF Rubric Guide

The IF Rubric Guide provides a deeper dive on the research underpinning each indicator and performance look-for, offering:

  • The rationale behind developing the IF Rubric
  • Detailed explanations of the indicators and look-fors, with citations to relevant research
  • Practical guidance on using the IF Rubric to observe and assess teacher effectiveness

Grade-level IF Documents

The IF grade-level documents exemplify how to apply the eight research-based best practices outlined in the IF Rubric over the course of the school year. Documents for each grade level include:

  • Standards Overview, which shows when and how often each standard is taught over the course of the school year.
  • Unit Overview, which provides a high-level summary of each nine-week unit.
  • Unit-at-a-Glance, which offers weekly suggestions on how to teach the standards in a manageable way over the course of nine weeks. 
  • Learning Targets Checklist, which outlines the specific learning targets that should be taught during a particular unit and can be used to monitor progress and support planning decisions.
  • Model Lessons, which provide examples of detailed lesson plans incorporating several weekly standards identified in the unit-at-a-glance. 
  • Handouts and Assessments, which serve as resources to be used in conjunction with model lessons or as examples for monitoring students’ progress toward unit-specific standards. 

K-8 Unit Themes and Document Examples

The grade-level documents also help teachers integrate themes into each quarterly unit for grades kindergarten through eight. The table below provides an overview of those themes and examples of the grade-level documents. Sign up for full access to all the grade-level documents. 

The IF Rubric is designed to support school leaders in setting uniform expectations for teachers, evaluating teaching practices and establishing performance goals over time.

Teacher preparation programs can use the rubric to introduce best teaching practices and to support student teachers in applying those best practices to lesson planning and classroom instruction.

The IF is informed by leading research, including the Understanding by Design framework developed by Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins, The Framework for Teaching developed by Charlotte Danielson, and The Highly Engaged Classroom by Robert Marzano. Experts in reading, English/Language Arts and curriculum writing leveraged these works and other research to develop grade level-specific English/Language Arts frameworks both aligned with the Common Core State Standards and consistent across grade levels.

Unit 1
Unit 2
Unit 3
Unit 4
Curriculum and Calendar- related Considerations
  • Personal Feelings & Growth
  • Friends and Family
  • Benchmark Assess.
  • Class Rules, Routines, & Expectations
  • My World & Others
  • Yesterday/History
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas
  • Holidays Around the World
  • New Year Traditions
  • Heroes
  • Social Issues and Culture
  • Current Events
  • M.L.K. Day
  • Black History
  • Presidents
  • Women’s History
  • Living Things
  • Environment
  • Poetry
  • Earth Day
  • Spring
  • End-of-Year Assess
Caring about Myself and Others
Unit Overview
Learning about the World through Senses & Feelings
Kindergarten Assessment

Knowing about Living and Non-Living Things

Going in Circles with Cycles (Life Cycles)

Grade 1

The World I Live In

Problem Solvers
Unit at a Glance

Our World

Grade 2

Building Communities
Unit Overview

Lessons Learned
Model Lesson | Handouts

Making Connections
Connecting to Our Environment
Grade 3

Unit Overview

Culture and Traditions

Inspirational Leaders

Life Around Us
Unit Overview
Grade 4

Character Development
Model Lesson | Handouts
Unit Overview

Social Change

Nature: Give and Take

Grade 5

Perspectives and Point of View
Learning Target Checklist
Unit Overview


News and Events
Unit at a Glance

Our Changing Earth

Grade 6

Convincing Arguments
Unit Overview

Investigations and Revelations
Unit Overview | Target Checklist

Enduring Heroes


Grade 7

Forging Identities
Unit Overview

Seeking Belonging
Model Lesson | Handouts

Constructing Social Consciousness

Exercising Expression
Unit Overview
Grade 8

Intersecting Perspectives

Inspiring Inquiry to Create Change
Unit at a Glance

Interpreting & Voicing Verse

Additional Resources

Sign up now for full access to resources designed to support teachers and other educators in applying the IF to their work. These resources include:

  • IF Exemplar Videos – Watch videos showing teachers applying the IF indicators and look-fors in the school and classroom setting
  • IF Indicator Pictures – View clear examples of what the IF best practices look like when they come together in lesson plans, assessments, real-world artifacts and other observable look-fors
  • IF Indicator Articles – Read research-aligned articles that provide short background knowledge of the indicators and look-fors from top professionals in the field 
  • PowerPoint Trainings – Access trainings designed to explain the IF best practices to individual teachers or to be used for schoolwide professional development
WordPress Image Lightbox