Teacher & Observer: Partners for Success Cycle
The idea behind the Teacher & Observer: Partners for Success (TOPS) cycle is to help administrators standardize and prioritize feedback in order to help teachers grow their craft in a logical manner. This keeps administrators on the same page and helps teachers take ownership of their own professional growth. To use this form, observers conduct short, targeted observations, provide bite-sized chunks of feedback to the teacher in the form of a growth step, and note when the teacher has mastered the growth step. The steps are based on the research of Hattie’s (2009) Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement.
Effective Teacher Pedagogy
Various data collection tools focusing on research-based teaching strategies have been developed in order to assist principals and peers in collecting data for teacher reflection and joint analysis. This tool, based on the research of Dr. John Hattie (2009), was designed at the School University Research Network (SURN) at the College of William and Mary for use in their Principals’ Academy. Focusing on both principal performance standards and research-based, high-yield strategies, Dr. Jan Rozelle (2012) and her colleagues developed several teacher observation and feedback tools to give principals the opportunity to assess the variety of research-based teacher behaviors exhibited during an observation, as well as make anecdotal comments. An analysis of these data with the teacher provides an opportunity to assess the range of behaviors being employed to help students achieve. Each of the ten observation “look-fors” on this form has an effect size of .40 or greater. Many schools simply choose to focus on several of the observation “look-fors” during a given school year in order for staff to become experts in select high-yield strategies by year’s end. (See “Materials” under the “Resources” tab for a crosswalk document that provides greater detail on examples and non-examples of each “look-for”.)
High-Yield Teacher Behaviors
Student Indicators of Engagement
Teacher/Student Behavior Observation
Cognitive Levels of Questions and Wait Time
Good questioning is a critical component of effective teaching. Research has established a direct link between student achievement and the effective use of questioning at different difficulty and cognitive levels (Craig, Sullins, Witherspoon, & Gholson, 2006; Hattie, 2009). This tool is used by the observer to collect data for the cognitive level of each question the teacher poses during a lesson. Note that the observer also records the wait time in seconds next to the cognitive level of each question. The number of questions asked at each cognitive level is also summarized. Joint analysis by the teacher and observer may reveal patterns or the fact that most questions are at one cognitive level (e.g., recall), for example. It is important for the observer and the teacher to be familiar with the cognitive hierarchy and questions stems that cue to specific cognitive levels. (See “Materials” under the “Resources” tab for handouts on this topic.)
Student Engagement Data Collection
Engagement Data Collection
This tool is similar to the Student Engagement Data Collection form and is ideal for use with novice teachers to engage in conversations about classroom management strategies and time on task. In addition to collecting data about teacher behaviors during each activity of the lesson, this tool permits the observer to capture the exact number of students who are either on task or off task for each activity. (There is no emphasis placed on identifying specific students with the use of this form.) The code legend is also used to record the specific on-task and/or off-task behaviors for both groups of students. When the data reveal that one or more activities during the lesson has a higher than desired percentage of students demonstrating off-task behaviors, the conversation during the post-observation conference focuses on the teacher behavior(s) logged on the tool for that particular activity during the lesson.