A lot of districts are trying to get on the Formative Classroom Observation bandwagon with good intentions… and a lot of bad practice.
For example, at the District Administrator Meeting, some well-intentioned Assistant Superintendent or Superintendent will show a list of the observation data the campuses are self-reporting. Usually, this is rank ordered, as if the numbers actually mean something.
Campus A has reported a 50% level on something. Campus B has reported a 40% level.
“What’s wrong Campus B? Catch up with Campus A”
The fact that there is no inter-rater reliability is never considered. And everyone is completely oblivious to the fact that this practice guarantees observation inflation…
The only number that matters in district-wide comparisons is… Volume.
Volume means that the campus is engaged in the formative observation process. Engagement in the process, over-time will improve adult practice. Which is the purpose.
The next big mistake districts make is that they let the Haters, hate. Meaning district administration allows some campuses to opt out of the process, and bad mouth the process as they do so. Instead of allowing them to hate, make the Haters engage in the process. Yes, they will still bad mouth the process, but at least it won’t make Suckers out of the campus administrators attempting to implement District initiatives.
Finally, there is the practice of covering up bad news with false celebrations. If the district goal is 200 classroom observations per month by each campus, then don’t celebrate campuses just doing 50 observations in a given month. Instead problem solve on how to meet the district goal. It’s a more productive use of times and doesn’t give anyone the illusion that they are meeting expectations.
Think. Work. Achieve.
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