- Evaluating and supporting educators
In the current climate much attention is being paid to teacher evaluation. Classroom observation protocols are one important component of the summative judgments made as part of that process. However, there is also a role for classroom observations that serve a formative purpose and support teacher development and growth. In this presentation we will review three observation protocols, all developed to support formative assessment in different contexts. Our expert discussant will compare and contrast the three approaches, and consider how states and districts might incorporate them into professional development.
The first presentation focuses on a set of rubrics and associated protocols that were developed for the Formative Assessment for Teachers and Students (FAST) State Collaborative on Assessment and Student Standards (SCASS). The rubrics were derived from the definition (CCSSO, 2006) of formative assessment and the attributes of effective formative assessment (McManus/CCSSO, 2008). The protocols were developed to support both individual teacher self-reflection or peer observation and feedback. Feedback was received from the FAST group at multiple points during the development process, along with teacher review and input. A small pilot in the Fall informed final revisions. We will share how it is being used and structures being built around it.
The second presentation focuses on an observation protocol designed for examining the implementation of formative task sets from the Cognitively Based Assessment of, for, and as Learning (CBAL) project. The purpose of this protocol is to understand what high quality implementation of the formative assessment materials looks like, to examine how teacher use aligns with the definition of high quality implementation, and use findings to guide the development and revision of teacher support materials. The protocol was developed by examining the theory of action for CBAL, existing classroom observation protocols, and lesson narratives where CBAL materials were implemented. The final protocol includes eight dimensions related to implementation of formative assessment materials with multiple indicators for each dimension. This protocol will be piloted during the 2012-2013 school year and data will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of current teacher support materials and provide recommendations for additional development.
The third presentation focuses on the statewide formative assessment professional development project called Formative Assessment for Michigan Educators (FAME). As part of that work a classroom observation protocol was developed for use in examining (and eventually scaffolding) teachers’ formative assessment practices. The formative assessment observation protocol was developed using a teacher learning progression (LP) framework. LPs, which have been primarily developed for student learning, are frameworks that describe the successively more sophisticated ways of thinking about an idea over a broad span of time. This stance allows the examination of teachers’ implementation of a given practice, and the sophistication with which they formatively assess. Using design-based research approach the protocol is being iteratively developed and refined based on observations of teaching practice. This top-down (what theory says about good formative assessment) and bottom-up (what is seen in teachers’ classrooms) approach allows the framework to capture a realistic portrait of how teachers may improve practice. The protocol can guide next steps for teachers in improving their practice.
This session is relevant to the broad audience at CCSSO given that the three projects are all focused on describing and documenting classroom implementation of formative assessment, while taking a variety of approaches. The development of each protocol was informed by the literature, definitions of formative assessment and direct observations of teacher practice. While the approaches differ somewhat and resulted in different articulations of dimensions or components, the goal of improving teaching and learning is common, and by sharing we aim to inform the work of others.