Part 1 of a Series

Classroom Observations: Measuring Teachers’ Professional Practices

Client: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Classroom observations are an essential component of all rigorous teacher evaluation systems. But in far too many schools, observations are treated as a compliance exercise rather than an opportunity to improve teacher practices. In this brief, we provide state and district leaders with practical advice and strategies to make high-quality classroom observations a reality. We offer four main recommendations: (1) Ensure a system-wide understanding of effective practice; (2) build credibility by certifying observers and providing teachers with high-quality feedback; (3) make observations useful and manageable for teachers and observers; and (4) monitor observation results for quality and build a system of continuous improvement. For each recommendation we include specific strategies and resources that states and districts can tailor and put into use.

We developed this brief with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as part of a series focused on teacher effectiveness titled Evaluation & Support: Strategies for Success. The series includes an introduction and six briefs providing district and state leaders with practical advice for implementing high-quality evaluation systems.

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