Using Observations to Improve Teacher Practice: How States Can Build Meaningful Observation Systems

Client: US Department of Education

Classroom observations give teachers the opportunity to receive meaningful and direct feedback about their practice. But many observers still struggle to give teachers the kind of feedback that would help them improve instruction. In this publication we summarize research, lessons and resources gathered from states, districts and supporting organizations about how to make observations more meaningful for teachers and observers. We identify three strategies for strengthening observation frameworks that states can adapt to fit their individual context: 1) Create clear, streamlined rubrics; 2) Develop supplemental tools that help observers focus on the right areas for development; and 3) Establish meaningful structures that encourage strong, effective feedback.

This publication is a result of our work with four states to identify challenges with their observations and identify goals and strategies to address those challenges. This work included six months on individualized support through a partnership with Public Impact and the Education Delivery Institute.

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