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ERIC Number: ED540787
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Nov
Pages: 28
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
Watching Teachers Work: Using Observation Tools to Promote Effective Teaching in the Early Years and Early Grades
Guernsey, Lisa; Ochshorn, Susan
New America Foundation
This paper paints a picture of the dismal state of early education for many children--especially the disadvantaged--who are rarely given access to the kinds of stimulating, content-rich conversations that provide them with the cognitive and social-emotional skills they need to succeed throughout their years in school. With many states currently redesigning their teacher-evaluation systems, the report urges policymakers to include objective observation-based assessment as a measure of teacher effectiveness. "Observation tools allow for measurements that are far less subjective than many of the checklists and rubrics currently used today," the report says. Based on in-depth interviews at several leading sites around the country already using observation tools, the report describes how strong teaching and caregiving can be fostered in infant-toddler programs, pre-K settings, and elementary schools. The report also describes how objective observation could be used to improve teaching across the full education spectrum, PreK-12th grade. The report offers 17 recommendations to policymakers at all levels of government, as well as to educators and teacher-preparation programs. Among them: Use valid and reliable observation tools to identify, promote and reward good teaching; harness the power of these tools to integrate professional development with formal evaluation; and use observation-based assessments to promote PreK-3rd reforms, providing teachers with a common language for describing good teaching across pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and elementary schools. (Contains 2 tables and 68 notes.)
New America Foundation. 1899 L Street NW Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-986-2700; Fax: 202-986-3696; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Elementary Education
Audience: Teachers; Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: Foundation for Child Development; W. Clement and Jessie V. Stone Foundation; A.L. Mailman Family Foundation, Inc.
Authoring Institution: New America Foundation