Academic journal article Planning and Changing

Multiple Measures of Teaching Effectiveness: Classroom Observations and Student Surveys as Predictors of Student Learning

Academic journal article Planning and Changing

Multiple Measures of Teaching Effectiveness: Classroom Observations and Student Surveys as Predictors of Student Learning

Article excerpt

With the continued pressure to increase student academic achievement, improving teacher effectiveness has become a national imperative. Using well-established measures of effective teaching, the focus of this study was to identify key predictors of teacher effectiveness operationalized as student growth in reading and mathematics. To accomplish the goal of improving teaching by designing high-leverage professional learning, our study will contribute by identifying the strongest predictors among all variables included in a student survey and classroom observations.

There is extensive research evidence that indicates teachers matter for student learning (Hanushek & Lindseth, 2009; Rivkin, Hanushek, & Kain, 2005; Stronge, 2007). Yet, investigating how teachers impact student learning remains as a critical question. Our study is an exploration of the topic of predictors of teacher effectiveness using data associated with the new Kentucky teacher evaluation system. The state of Kentucky implemented a teacher evaluation pilot in the school year 2013-14 that informed the full implementation of the model in the school year 2014-15. The new teacher evaluation system in Kentucky is titled the Professional Growth and Effectiveness System (PGES) and has shifted away from a checklist-based model with little differentiation in ratings of teacher effectiveness (Weisberg et al., 2009) to a student achievement-centered model that incorporates multiple sources of evidence to inform professional practice (Cantrell & Kane, 2013; Kane, McCaffrey, Miller, & Staiger, 2013). The new teacher effectiveness system, based on Danielson's Framework for Teaching (Danielson, 2009), Ferguson's Tripod Survey (Ferguson, 2012; Ferguson & Danielson, 2014) and Student Growth Percentiles (Betebenner, 2008), is designed to allow for more targeted and meaningful professional learning for educators in Kentucky. Nevertheless, there are still areas for exploration surrounding the new teacher evaluation system, including: (a) the magnitude of correlations among the sources of evidence used for identifying teacher effectiveness and (b) the identification of high-leverage, "power" domains from classroom observations and constructs from student surveys that predict student growth in reading and mathematics.

Review of the Teacher Evaluation Literature

As federal funding has become increasingly dependent on demonstrating robust systems of educator effectiveness in recent years, there has been an increase in the number of research studies on this topic. The seminal work, Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) project (Kane & Cantrell, 2010), serves as an instrumental cornerstone for establishing a common conversation around the complex topic of teacher effectiveness, and continues to shape and inform research on the factors that contribute to teacher effectiveness. The purpose of this literature review is to highlight the findings from the MET studies as well as other relevant studies associated with the key constructs used in our study, namely student perception surveys and teacher classroom observations.

Studies of Student Perceptions

The initial study from the MET project, Learning about Teaching, explored the relationship between student perceptions, as measured by the Tripod survey and teacher effectiveness (Kane & Cantrell, 2010). The main finding was that students were able to identify teacher effectiveness based on the seven constructs (7C) that are core to a student's experience in the classroom. The researchers found that student perceptions in one class predict large differences in student achievement gains in other classes taught by the same teacher, especially in the subject area of mathematics. Also, researchers found that some constructs had a stronger relationship to a teacher's value-added measures than others, including: (a) teacher's ability to manage a classroom and (b) teacher's ability to challenge students with rigorous work and effort. …

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