Eric.ed.gov – Teacher Observation: Evaluation Report and Executive Summary

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The Teacher Observation intervention aimed to improve teacher effectiveness through structured peer observation. Teachers observe and are observed by their peers a number of times over the course of two years. It was delivered by the Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO) at the University of Bristol. CMPO researchers trained lead teachers from both maths and English departments in participating secondary schools to use RANDA TOWER software (RANDA, 2012), and lead teachers then trained colleagues in their schools. Teachers used the software on a tablet computer to keep a record of classroom observations and to review and collate the data afterwards. Intervention schools were requested to involve all maths and English teachers in a series of 20 minute, structured peer observations over a two-year period. This study was an efficacy trial of the Teacher Observation intervention in 82 secondary schools with high proportions of pupils eligible for free school meals (FSM). It was a school-randomised controlled trial designed to determine the impact of the whole-school intervention on the attainment of pupils in English and maths. The primary outcome was the combined English and maths GCSE scores of Year 10 pupils in participating schools in 2014/15, who had two years of exposure to the intervention. The trial was also designed to explore the effect of varying the number of observations undertaken by teachers (“dosage”) and explore how the effect varied depending on whether the teacher was observing his or her peers or being observed or both. Teachers in the low dosage group were asked to complete a minimum of three observations (though the suggested number was six), while teachers in the high dosage group were asked to complete a minimum of four (with a suggested number of 12). A process evaluation used case study visits, an online survey and a pro forma to provide data on implementation and to capture the perceptions and experiences of participating teachers. The intervention was implemented in schools during the 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 academic years. Key conclusions include: (1) The project found no evidence that Teacher Observation improves combined GCSE English and maths scores; (2) The project found no evidence of impact of the intervention on the GCSE English and maths attainment of pupils who have ever been eligible for FSM; (3) In general, teachers delivered the minimum number of observations allowed rather than the higher number suggested by the developers: teachers had difficulty fitting in the required number of observations because of timetabling and arranging cover, and some experienced problems using the software. Even when observations did take place, there was no evidence that schools which did more observations had better pupil results; (4) Teacher engagement with the programme varied greatly across schools, and practice ranged from individuals simply recording some observations using the RANDA software to whole-school, collaborative planning, discussion and reflection as part of an integrated CPD programme; and (5) Almost three-quarters of the control group schools were already doing some peer observation prior to the intervention. The lack of impact seen in this study may be because the structured Teacher Observation intervention was no more effective than existing practice rather than because general peer observation has no impact.

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Troels Gannerup Christensen

Jeg er ansat som lektor hos Læreruddannelsen i Jelling, hvor jeg underviser i matematik, specialiseringsmodulet teknologiforståelse, praktik m.m. Jeg har tidligere været ansat som pædagogisk konsulent i matematik og tysk hos UCL ved Center for Undervisningsmidler (CFU) i Vejle og lærer i udskolingen (7.-9. klasse) på Lyshøjskolen i Kolding. Jeg er ejer af og driver bl.a. hjemmesiderne www.lærklokken.dk og www.iundervisning.dk, ggbkursus.dk og er tidligere fagredaktør på matematik på emu.dk. Jeg går ind for, at læring skal være let tilgængelig og i størst mulig omfang gratis at benytte.

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