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Results-Oriented Job Descriptions: The ROJD Process

A results-oriented job description is built in several steps. The sequence of these steps is critical to the success of the process. The steps are illustrated below. Step 1 is the foundation and the subsequent steps build to the result.

Locate and Label Positions

Locate and label all jobs being done that have existing designated titles. These titles may exist in a variety of locations -- for example, the board policy book, the personnel office, interdepartmental files, and, in a bargaining local, in the recognition article of a negotiated contract. In some locals, even very sophisticated ones, some jobs may exist that have no title at all. Recognizing each and every job -- and listing it -- is very important.

Step #1: List the Tasks

Once all jobs have been listed, then the first step is to develop a Tasks List for each of them. In a traditional job description, qualifications and tasks are often described together. That is often the extent of the employee's job description because that is all the school district understands or recognizes about the job.

The task list should include all work, activities, and services performed. Add services and additional work that are not contained in the current job description.

For example, a task list for an instructional assistant might include:

  • Arrange chairs and other classroom furniture
  • Ready classroom supplies, e.g., cutting, laminating, copying
  • Set up classroom for special activities
  • Refill soap and towel dispensers
  • Decorate bulletin boards
  • Change children's artwork
  • Decorate rooms according to season or upcoming holidays

      Note: The qualifications necessary to be hired for a specific job should always be listed separately.

Step #2: Define Essential Responsibilities

When Step #1 -- the tasks list and a separate qualifications list -- is complete for each and every paraeducator job within the district, then Step #2 can begin.

An Essential Responsibility is the result to be accomplished by the tasks performed.

"Essential Responsibility" is a heading that describes an area of work that usually requires several individual tasks to complete. Once various headings are developed that describe required results, the tasks can be sorted logically under the appropriate essential responsibility. A particular job may have many or few essential responsibilities.

The second step shifts the focus of the work to the result desired. The ROJD states clearly what the tasks of a specific job are, and then places the focus of the job description on the result to be accomplished -- why the work is being done. When we change the focus of the job description, move from the passive to the active, which clarifies and elevates the job function.

For example, an Essential Responsibility for an Instructional Assistant may be:

    Set up Classroom for Daily Activities

Now take the task list and change all the passive verbs (arrange, ready, set up, refill, decorate, etc.) to active verbs by adding the active ending, "-ing." The verbs then become arranging, readying, setting up, refilling, decorating, etc.

Changing verbs from passive to active shows that the essential responsibility involves much more work and results in more accomplishment for the students and staff of a school than was previously recognized.

An instructional assistant doesn't just set up a classroom. He/she is responsible for:

  • Arranging chairs and other classroom furniture
  • Readying classroom supplies, e.g., cutting, laminating, copying
  • Setting up classroom for special activities
  • Refilling soap and towel dispensers
  • Decorating bulletin boards
  • Changing children's artwork
  • Decorating rooms according to season or upcoming holidays

The Writing Method for a ROJD

Describing jobs with the focus on results is not just an empty exercise that increases workload. It's an important tool in the paraeducators' quest for recognition. When the results of work are clearly written and defined, everyone in the process comes to know why the work is being done and finally recognizes and defines all the work that does get done.

The method of writing the Essential Responsibility involves the use of the connector word, by.

  1. List the essential responsibility.
  2. Add the connector word -- by.
  3. And then list the tasks, using the active ending -ing.

      Example (Instructional Assistant):

  1. Essential Responsibility:
                --set up classroom for Daily Activities
    By
  2. Tasks:
  • Arranging chairs and other classroom furniture
  • Readying classroom supplies, e.g., cutting, laminating, copying
  • Setting up classroom for special activitiesRefilling soap and towel dispensers
  • Decorating bulletin boards
  • Changing children's artwork
  • Decorating rooms according to season or upcoming holidays

To distinguish between the tasks to be performed and the result accomplished, answer these questions:

  • "Why are we doing this job?" (the result)
  • "What must actually be done to produce the desired result?" (the task.)

Writing a results-oriented job description using the prescribed method almost guarantees a shift of focus and enhancement of purpose for every job described. When you actually write the ROJD, print the results to be accomplished in boldface letters to emphasize the statement.

The employee, the supervisor, and the community can now recognize the connection between the work being performed daily and the employee's specific contribution to the mission of the school community, that is, enhanced student achievement.

Step #3: Identify the Job Purpose -- Enhancing Student Achievement

The job purpose is the goal of the entire school district. The purpose of the work done by all paraeducators is "enhancing student achievement," which is the same purpose for all education employees in a public school district. Each paraeducator enhances student achievement by a combination of essential responsibilities, which can be defined by one broad, all encompassing phrase, such as "assisting the classroom teacher with student instruction," in the case of the instructional assistant.

Step #4: Enter the Job Title

Job titles are usually already established, and are easily accessible from many sources, such as the board policy book, inter-departmental files, any existing negotiated contract, or in the personnel office. It should be noted, however, that it is always important to reference member employee lists in the event that an ESP person is working in a job that in fact is not titled.

Step #5: Enter the Job Category -- Paraeducator

When Step #5 is written, the Results-Oriented Job Description is complete.


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