Teacher Observation

The project will use existing research on effective peer lesson observation to develop a rubric for lesson observation. The programme will involve short, frequent, unannounced observations by peers and heads of departments, but the observations would not appraise performance or involve incentives attached to performance. The project will have different treatment groups, allowing the impacts of being both observed and observing to be assessed.

Teachers who are observers will be trained in effective observation approaches using videotaped teaching examples. Evidence from observations will be recorded on an electronic system, ensuring that information is logged and researchers can easily access this.

Why are we funding it?

A similar structured lesson observation approach has been tested in Cincinnati using the students of teachers from prior years as a control group. This showed that students performed better in the year that their teachers were undergoing the structured observation and even better in subsequent years. The effect on student attainment was relatively small, at 0.11 standard deviations for maths attainment. However, the effects on teacher performance, as judged by peers, was higher, with teachers rated as weak at the beginning benefiting the most from the process.

How are we evaluating it?

Bristol University will undertake considerable data analysis as a part of the project with Independent evaluation being undertaken by a team from NFER. Randomisation will be at school level (55 intervention, 65 control) with treatment and control schools balanced on a range of school, teacher and pupil characteristics. Additional randomisation will occur within the treatment schools at teacher level with some teachers being observers, some observees and some both. This will enable the impact of being an observer versus an observe to be compared. The outcome measures are GCSE (Y10-11). NFER will also lead an independent process evaluation within the treatment schools to look at the barriers to implementation and necessary conditions for success. The evaluation is set up as an efficacy trial. Efficacy trials aim to test whether an intervention can work under ideal conditions (e.g. when being delivered by the intervention’s original developer) in greater than 10 schools.

To view the project's original evaluation protocol click here.  The protocol was updated in October 2014 and is available here

When will the evaluation report be due?

An evaluation report on the findings of the trial will be published in Autumn 2017.