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Researchers Offer Toolkit to Implement Teacher-Controlled Video Observations

Report Finds Teacher-Controlled Video Observations Help Improve Evaluation Process; Researchers Offer Toolkit for Implementation

A year-long study from the Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR) at Harvard University found that giving teachers the option to submit recorded lessons for review resulted in an improved evaluation process as opposed to in-person observation.

The Best Foot Forward Project

"The Best Foot Forward Project: Substituting Teacher-Collected Video for In-Person Classroom Observations" "investigated whether video technology can make the classroom observation process easier to implement, less costly, and more valid and reliable," according to the CEPR's site.

In order to arrive at its conclusions, the report analyzed how controlled video observations versus in-person observations affected the evaluation process for 347 teachers and 108 administrators from Delaware, Colorado, Georgia and California.

The researchers found that teachers were open to participating in the video observation process after learning they could control the camera and choose what lessons they submitted.

And not only were teachers more open to participating in video observations, they also found the recorded observations to be more useful when critiquing themselves.

"Of teachers in the treatment group, 42 percent reported that while watching the videos, they noticed previously unnoticed student behaviors or their own behaviors 'quite often' or 'extremely often,'" the report said.

Reduction of Defensiveness, Increase of Self-Critique

When it came time for teachers and administrators to meet for evaluations, teachers who participated in video observations found the process to be fairer and more constructive, as did administrators.

Teachers "reported fewer disagreements on the ratings they received and were more likely to describe a specific change in their practice resulting from their post-observation conference. Likewise, treatment administrators reported that their post-observation conferences with teachers were less defensive."

Even though teachers were able to select which recorded lessons they wanted to submit for review, the report found that strong teachers were consistently strong even in lessons they chose not to submit and vice versa for weaker teachers. In other words, even carefully selected recorded lessons presented a good picture of the teacher's abilities.

Teachers and administrators who participated in the video observations overall said they would participate in that method of evaluation again.

Toolkit for Interested Teachers & Administrators

For schools that are interested in implementing the video observation process for teacher evaluations, the researchers have created a toolkit to get started.

This toolkit includes "strategies for using video observations for professional growth," "considerations for student and teacher privacy," "recommendations for setting up schools for effective technology implementation," and "a guide to piloting and large-scale implementation."

Read the full report here

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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