Implementing Classroom Observation Rubrics: How are NGEI sites identifying and using classroom observation rubrics to prepare effective teachers?

by Alix Gallagher; Ashley Boal; Ashley Campbell; Jaclyn Tejwani; Melissa White; Naa Ammah-Tagoe; Naomi Tyler

Jan 1, 2017

The New Generation of Educators Initiative (NGEI), funded by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, seeks to strengthen the current teacher preparation system in California so that new teachers enter the workforce prepared to implement Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The Foundation has developed a theory of action to guide reform that focuses on five Key Transformation Elements: partnership, prioritized skills, practice-based clinical preparation, formative feedback on prioritized skills, and data-driven continuous improvement.

WestEd and SRI International are conducting a formative evaluation to track NGEI implementation and outcomes at the 11 NGEI grantees (i.e., TPPs and their district partners) that received comprehensive grants in Phase 2. One of the core NGEI requirements is that each partnership (campus and district) identify prioritized skills and a classroom observation rubric to measure candidate progress towards those skills. This is because high-quality rubrics can play a central role in preparing effective teachers and supporting ongoing improvement of preparation programs

As the theory of action shows, classroom observation rubrics (hereafter "rubrics") can operate at the center of individual and organizational learning.

In addition to generating valuable data, rubrics can play a more foundational role in NGEI partnerships. When campus-district partners collaboratively select or develop rubrics, the rubrics articulate a consensus view of effective teaching. Rubrics are then a powerful tool for communicating that vision of effective teaching to a range of stakeholders -- professors, district administrators, university supervisors, cooperating teachers, and candidates. When used consistently they can break down gaps candidates might otherwise perceive between the theory taught in courses and the practice learned in clinical settings; they can also smooth the transition from preservice preparation into induction. The range of powerful uses for rubrics, however, adds to the complexity of selecting and using them. This Innovation Highlight is devoted to surfacing some of those complexities and then sharing some of the ways NGEI partnerships started working with rubrics during the 2016-17 school year.