Academic journal article Education

Contemporary Teacher Classroom Performance Observation Instruments

Academic journal article Education

Contemporary Teacher Classroom Performance Observation Instruments

Article excerpt

Observation of teaching, which flourished in the 1960's and 1970's and then declined, is staging a comeback. This renewed interest has been stimulated by the education accountability movement, the teacher minimum competency movement, and the continuing emphasis on excellence in education.

The purpose of this paper is to overview the state of the art of contemporary classroom teaching performance observation instruments.


The Teacher Performance Assessment Instruments (TPAI) (Capie, 1987), its derivative, Teacher Assessment and Development System -- Meritorious Teacher Form (TADS-MTP) (Lovelace & Martin, 1984), and the Florida Performance Measurement System (FPMS) (Peterson, Micceri & Smith, 1985) will be considered at length. Both TPAI and FPMS were developed to assess minimum proficiency of beginning teachers although both TADS-MTP and FPMS were also used in the short lived, controversial, Florida master, actually associate master, teacher program.


The most influential instrument has been the TPAI, initially developed 20 years ago in Georgia, the state to implement a performance-based teacher certificatio model for beginning teachers. The TPAI (Ellett, 1986) is a high-inference ratin system of 14 generic teaching competencies, each articulated in two to five performance indicators (45 total). Probably in excess of $15,000,000 has been spent on TPAI research and development.

A considerable number of studies have established TPAI reliability: Capie, Tobin, Ellett & Johnson (1980); Capie, Ellett & Johnson (1981); Capie & Ellett (1982a); among others. Next reported are TPAI validity studies.

For an overview of various TPAI validation processes and content analysis correlations with pupil's perceptions of the learning environment, with pupil engagement, and especially with pupil achievement, see Capie & Ellett (1982b). Investigating TPAI dimensions in an independent factor analysis, Wiersma, Dickson, Jurs & Wenig (1983) obtained one large general factor, a teaching factor, and one smaller factor, instructional variety and feedback to students. Hsiung & Capie (1987) also factor analyzed the TPAI and found the factors consistently appearing to be planning, motivation, classroom management, and instruction.


Ellett & Capie (1985) described the development of TADS and especially, TADS-MT in Dade County, Florida. TADS-MTP consists of 19 teaching performance indicator defined by 68 more specific observation units. It is a high-inference system of 82 items categorized in four assessment categories: knowledge of subject matter techniques of instruction, classroom management, and teacher-student relations. It was judged by teachers to have adequate content validity. A larger proportio of merit teachers vs. nonmerit teachers demonstrated greater frequencies of all but one of the 82 TADS-MTP teaching behaviors. The differences were significant on 52 of 82 behaviors. Factor analysis and oblique rotation produced four factors: instruction; management of behavior and maintaining on-task behavior; classroom climate; and efficient administration of classroom routines.


The FPMS is a low-inference observation system. First reported are reliability studies.

In an early reliability study (Teacher Evaluation Project, 1982-83), FPMS screening/summative estimates were .79 for discriminate, .85 for interrater, an .86 for stability. In a later reliability study (Teacher Evaluation Project, 1982-84), corresponding estimates were .91, .98, and .92, respectively. Next reported are FPMS validity studies.

Smith, Peterson & Micceri (1987a) reported expositorily that factor analysis of the FPM summative scores using the Florida Master Teacher data base supported the domain structure as defined. Teacher experience, attendance, degree, and FPMS classroom performance were compared with student achievement and student task engagement by Allen (1985). …

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