Contact Us | Help
Career resources for New Mexico school teachers and administrators

PDD Glossary

male teacher in front of a class of middle school children


Concrete evidence related to the teaching represented in the PDD. Data illustrate the teacher's explanations of particular aspects of his/her teaching and allow reviewers to better understand the teacher's reasoning and action. In the PDD, data include lesson descriptions, handouts, photocopies of materials, summaries of materials, student work, test reports, video and audio recordings, photos, and any other artifact of the teacher's work. Strands A, B, and C require data to support written explanations.


Variability among students. Diversity includes, for example, variations in socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, gender, language, religion, learning style, culture, capabilities, achievement levels, age, interests, and/or personality. Strand B asks teachers to provide examples of how they attend to students' diverse individual needs.


An organized combination of explanations and data that external reviewers will use as evidence of meeting the competencies for Level II or Level III. Teachers should carefully collect sufficient data over an extended period of time and follow the guidelines for documentation for each strand. Doing so will allow a teacher to select appropriate data, write clear and concise explanations, and organize both so that an external reviewer can create an accurate picture of his/her teaching.


Data that is used to support an explanation. Data and evidence are used interchangeably.


Opportunity for teachers to tell the story of their teaching to outside reviewers. Explanations create a picture of what happened in the classroom, provide insight into teacher decision-making, describe relationships between the teacher and selected students, and provide the context for the data included in Strands A, B, and C.

External Reviewer

Experienced educator trained in the PDD scoring system. Each PDD will be reviewed by two external reviewers. One external reviewer for each PDD will have experience in the same or similar subject area as the PDD under review.


Learning experiences facilitated by the teacher where students actively engage in exploring content, solving problems, practicing skills, or developing new understanding of how academic content has connections to the world around them. Differentiated instruction is the intentional application of multiple modes of instruction in order to meet the needs of all students. Adapting content lessons for linguistically diverse learners or special needs students are examples of differentiated instruction.


To combine more than one content area or set of process skills into instruction. For example, a teacher might integrate language arts and science by having students learn how to write lab reports; or instruction in career readiness may incorporate the use of mathematics; or students may draw characters that they read about in history. Strand A of the PDD asks teachers to show how they work within and across disciplines — how they integrate instruction.

Professional Development Dossier (PDD)

A focused, compact collection of documentation compiled by the teacher seeking licensure advancement and her/his school district. The PDD documentation is a collection of classroom data (lesson descriptions, handouts, student work, video and audio recordings, photos) with explanations of that data written by the teacher, accompanied by verification and recommendation by the district superintendent. No one part of the PDD serves to fully represent a teacher's work, but the entire PDD is intended to provide evidence to determine when a teacher is qualified to advance to a higher level of licensure.


Instructional and other materials that teachers use to enhance, extend or reinforce student learning. Resources include handouts; worksheets; reading, listening or viewing material; written instructions; representations or relevant room displays; criteria; and other materials. Strand A asks teacher to provide up to four examples of resources they used in a segment of instruction.


Section of the PDD that focuses on a specific aspect of teaching. Each strand is constructed by the teacher in response to a set of guidelines. By carefully following the guidelines, teachers provide documentation of each aspect for outside reviewers. Each strand is evaluated using a cluster of standards related to that aspect. The PDD has five strands. Strand A focuses on Instruction; Strand B on Student Learning; and Strand C on Professional Learning. Strand D requires that the teacher's district superintendent verify the authenticity of the work in the PDD; and Strand E is a culminating report of annual evaluations conducted by the school district.

Student achievement

The notion that students have learned something, that they have moved toward fulfilling some predetermined goal, meeting some standard of performance, or acquiring some desired knowledge. Student achievement is usually determined by comparing a student product to a desired outcome. For example, a score on a norm-referenced test compares a student to the average of all student scores; a piece of writing is compared to expected features of different levels of writing performance as described on a rubric; a student's completion of a math problem is compared to the correct answer and/or the accepted process for solution. Strand A asks teachers to document high, mid- range, and low achievement in relationship to the desired outcomes of their instruction.

Student learning

The notion that students grow over time, in their own time, in their own ways. Unlike student achievement, student learning may not be directly to pre-determined standards or as related to classroom instruction. It may be highly individualized.

3 to 5 hour segment of instruction

For purposes of the PDD, a period of time focused on one concept, skill, and/theme. This unit of instruction may take place all on the same day in a self-contained setting where the teacher teaches all subjects. Or it may take place on consecutive class meetings when a teacher focuses mainly on one subject area. In other words, a teacher who meets with his/her class all day may document three to five hours of instruction on one day; whereas a teacher who meets with his/her class for only 45 minutes per day may document a week or more of instruction; or a teacher who meets with his/her class for only one hour once a week may document classes that stretch over a period of weeks. In other words, Strand A asks teachers to document instruction that is tied together in some way, building toward some larger goal.


For questions concerning PDD content and preparation, email Institute for Professional Development(IPD).

For questions concerning technical requirements or difficulty with VisionLink system, including password or login issues:

NM Public Education Department
Professional Licensure Bureau
120 S. Federal Place, Room 105
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Licensure Help Desk

Copyright © 2018 University of New Mexico College of Education. All rights reserved.
Supported by the Educator Quality Division at the New Mexico Public Education Department