Fixing Classroom Observations: How Common Core Will Change the Way We Look at Teaching
November 12, 2013
Classroom observations are the foundation of virtually every teacher evaluation system in the country, and they aren’t working. Today’s observation rubrics give observers too much to look for in a short amount of time. Most rubrics are still producing inflated and inaccurate ratings. And many observers struggle to provide useful feedback to teachers.
At stake here is the success of two critical policy changes that could dramatically improve the quality of teaching in classrooms across the country: improved teacher evaluation systems, and the Common Core State Standards. These two policies are really two sides of the same coin—better instruction for students—and neither one can work without the other.
Put simply, if we want Common Core and teacher evaluation to deliver on their promise for teachers and students, we have to fix classroom observations.
In our whitepaper, we propose a new approach to classroom observations built around two “must-haves”: assessing what’s being taught in addition to how it’s being taught, and putting observation rubrics on a diet. These changes would bring the same focus and coherence to observations that Common Core brings to academic standards.