Collecting Valuable Project Data: National's Teacher Observation Tool
Finding tools and processes that measure teacher growth outside of self-reflection is a challenge many CaMSP projects face. National School District’s Science and Engineering Partnership-Solving Problems through Engineering in the Physical Sciences (POWER) has developed such a tool for science instruction. The Power Observation Tool is designed to capture learning strategies, NGSS dimensions, EL strategies, and strategies designed to encourage female participation and interest in science and engineering. Results from the observations are also used to guide future professional development for the project.
Many different sources were used to develop the tool including Sheltered Instruction Observation Learning Protocol, Sci-Girls, EQuIP, and others. Eldon Andersen, project director, explained, “We were very successful with a math observation tool in our Cohort 8 CaMSP grant and modified it for use with our current science and engineering project.” The first page of the tool focuses on science content, Cross Cutting Concepts, and lesson delivery. The second page of the tool contains areas that are scored with a 0, 2, or 4. The teachers’ growth in these areas will be collected and used for their project’s evaluation. The third and fourth pages are used to note which Scientific and Engineering Practices the students are engaging in.
Coaches practice with the tool before using it. They view a video of a lesson, fill out the form, discuss their findings, and come to a consensus on the scores. The coaches do a baseline observation with no pre or post conference. This is to gather data over the 3 years. This observation is done in the fall of each cycle and in the spring of each cycle. The tool is also used in the coaching process to frame the discussions. During the preconference the teachers use the tool to decide which areas they would like to focus on in their instruction, which usually matches the areas of improvement the coaches have noted in their first observation. Coaches use the tool several times a year and share and discuss the results with the teachers. Using the results as guidance they decide on what areas they would like to focus on and continue the process throughout the year.
Visit POWER’s profile page for more information on their project.