Sunday, February 05, 2012
Teacher Evaluator Training & Certification: Lessons Learned from the Measures of Effective Teaching Project
The goal of the Practitioner Series is to share its learnings from the MET project, in order to support district leaders and state-level policymakers in the implementation of new, impactful teacher evaluation systems.
In its October 31, 2011, Issue Brief entitled Preparing Principals to Evaluate Teachers, the National Governors Association made an urgent appeal to the nation’s governors to take immediate steps “to ensure principals have the time they need to adequately train, become certified, and practice conducting evaluations before evaluation results are used to make high-stakes decisions.”
This paper recommends the following considerations be given to the design and implementation of programs to train and certify principals to conduct high-stakes teacher evaluations:
Training programs must prepare principals and other classroom observers to understand the difference between bias, interpretation, and evidence.
It is necessary but insufficient to teach observers the design and instructional philosophy behind the classroom observation instrument they will use to make high-stakes decisions about classroom teachers. The training must also require observers to accurately apply their knowledge of the instrument and demonstrate their ability to accurately score lessons from the range of grade levels and subjects that they will ultimately be expected to evaluate.
An essential component of any training program is exemplar videos of classroom lessons that have been pre-scored by certified instrument experts, if not by the instrument’s author.
Because all classroom observation instruments are high-inference assessments, it is best to have more than one video illustrating “benchmark” performance on each score point on the rubric associated with the observation instrument. It is also important to have high and low “rangefinder” videos, in order to make clear to the trainee what the difference might be between a score at the high end of one performance level and a score at the low end of the next performance level on a particular rubric.
There is no better training than authentic scoring practice. Whether using software or live classroom teaching with experts, good observer training will provide the opportunity to score authentic lessons and receive instant feedback from experts on the “true” scores for those lessons, along with explanations as to why the trainee’s scores were correct or incorrect.
Certification tests should assess the ability of the observer to replicate the scores of the instrument experts when observing a range of lessons in various grade/subject combinations.
Certification tests should not only assess the ability of the observer to score accurately; they should also test the ability of the observer to get the right score for the right reason. This means observers must have the proper observation skills to collect all of the evidence from classroom practice that is relevant to each component of the scoring rubric they will use.
Certification tests must assess the ability of the observer to differentiate between bias, interpretation, and evidence.
These recommendations and other findings emerged from Teachscape’s work with Educational Testing Service on the Measures of Effective Teaching project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Download the white paper here.
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