QUINT Observation Systems Seminars
Seminar on Standardized Observation Systems as a tool for measuring and understanding teaching.
The goal of this seminar is to promote sharing and communication between researchers who work with Observation Systems (Bell et al., 2018) based on the need for greater communication in this area as described by Praetorius and Charalambous (2018, 2021). The seminar is organized around a very general empirically-grounded framework (Figure 1): Theory should inform Measurement, which generates Data, which informs Theory. Then, developments in any one area has important implications for each other area. Observation systems are important in that they exist at the intersection of theory and measurement.
The seminar invites researchers to present research that relates Observation Systems broadly. See Bell et al, 2018 for our conceptualization of observation systems. Presentations may include: Presentations of empirical results; discussions of instructional theories (as relevant to observation systems; e.g. dimensions/domains to be measured); discussions of measurement/implementation challenges when using observation systems. Of particular interest, however, will be presentations that address questions spanning the framework (Figure 1): What theoretical implications can we draw from empirical results and what does this imply about measurement approaches? Given a specific theoretical view on teaching quality for example, what measurement implications can we draw and how does this lead to better data on this area? How can alternate measurement approaches improve the quality of the data and thus analyses generated?
Next Seminar (April 13th)
Speaker: Sean Kelly, Department of Educational Foundations, Organizations, & Policy, School of Education, University of Pittsburgh, Co-Editor, American Educational Research Journal
Abstract: An essential feature of many modern teacher observation protocols is their “global” approach to measuring instruction, where trained observers provide a summary evaluation of multiple domains of instruction scored over an interval of time or even entire class session. In this talk, I highlight several limitations of global protocols that have emerged, referencing findings from the Measures of Effective Teaching data reported by Kelly et al. (2020; Educational Policy Analysis Archives). These limitations include: limited discriminatory power to categorize instruction, reliability that is highly contingent on rater training, highly correlated subdomains that make it difficult to distinguish specific practices, the confounding of classroom context with teachers’ own contribution to instruction, and evaluation solely on a continuum of effectiveness rather than measures focused on tradeoffs in time-use or emphasis. As a frame of reference for understanding global protocols, I also consider the properties of automated systems of observation currently being developed, which address some of these limitations but also introduce new challenges.
- May 4th: Julie Cohen and Ethan Hutt will discuss their paper The Change we Cannot See
- June 9th: Charalambos Charalambous and Anna Praetorius will present work focused on fostering collaborative work around Observation Systems
- July and August will be taken off for Summer Break
- September Slot is currently Open
- October 6th: Courtney Bell will present
Participation is open and widely encouraged. Those interested in presenting should contact Mark White (firstname.lastname@example.org). Preference for presentations will be given to those who routinely and actively participate in the seminars. Presentations should be no more than 30 minutes and should conclude with some shared points for discussion. Discussion will then proceed for 30 minutes. All participants will be muted during the presentation. Clarifying questions can be asked through the chat and a moderator will decide whether to interrupt the speaker to get clarification on the point. The moderator will be in charge of muting/unmuting participants during the discussion.
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Bell, C. A., Dobbelaer, M. J., Klette, K., & Visscher, A. (2018). Qualities of classroom observation systems. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 0(0), 1–27. https://doi.org/10.1080/09243453.2018.1539014
Praetorius, A. K., & Charalambous, C. Y. (2018). Classroom observation frameworks for studying instructional quality: Looking back and looking forward. ZDM, 50(3), 535–553. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11858-018-0946-0