The current approaches to teacher performance supervision and assessment lack such a vital aspect as improving students’ learning outcomes. Instead of focusing on their needs and expectations, the existing methods merely target educators. In this regard, it is essential to design a new curriculum and instruction appraisal model that would fit the modern learning environment.
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The model that will be presented in this paper may be called “Integrative Supervision,” and it builds on the lesson observation and reflection that were made in the course of the previous assignments, as well as the synthesis of the available scholarly literature.
Methods and Approaches for Observations
The philosophical substantiation for the proposed model is based on the creative supervision that was elaborated by Gebhard (1984). According to the identified theory, creativity should be understood as a form of looking at the appraisal that may be dynamic and expressed in a variety of ways. In other words, it seems important to ensure that supervisors would have the opportunity to consider several evaluation methods simultaneously. As stated by Gebhard (1984), “the creative model allows freedom to become creative not only in the use of the models presented but also in other behaviors we may care to generate and test in our supervisory efforts” (p. 507). The above theoretical underpinning allows integrating the elements of different models and combining them in any productive way to contribute to the appropriate instruction appraisal.
With the mentioned creative model in mind, one may suggest that adequate appraisal procedures should involve a supervisor’s personal experience, knowledge of the relevant guidelines and literature, as well as observation techniques per se. Consistent with Marshall (2013), it seems essential to integrate four pivotal elements that are as follows: curriculum planning, mini-observations, end-of-year rubric evaluations, and interim assessments.
The method of curriculum planning implies the involvement of a supervisor in planning and closer communication with a teacher. This method can also be traced in the context of the collaborative model that was used to assess the lesson observation (see Appendix 3). The cooperation allowed increasing understanding between the mentioned parties and achieving greater success in proper evaluation.
The consideration of in-class mini-observations, which are also known as short drop-in examinations, seems to be useful compared to long full-lesson examinations. While the latter requires producing narratives for the whole lessons, mini-observations may last approximately 20 minutes and be more frequent. Another benefit of utilizing short observations is the inability of full write-ups to focus on specific problems of a particular teacher due to the fact that they provide the review of the overall quality (Marshall, 2013).
However, detailed observations are also essential. In particular, end-of-year rubric evaluations should be conducted to reveal strengths and weaknesses as well as the progress made during the year, as noted by Goldring et al. (2015). One more approach that should definitely be used is composed of end-of-course tests along with value-added components. Indeed, the reliance on value-added by teachers seems to be more effective rather than a mere consideration of teacher grades.
At the same, interim assessments play a vital role in the proposed appraisal model as they are expected to ensure the engagement of both educators and supervisors in the process of evaluating transitional learning outcomes of students. This means that interim assessments should target the measurement of student learning results in order to eliminate any drawbacks or missing knowledge by repeating the required topics. For example, if it was revealed that the majority of students lack a proper understanding of the World War II reasons, then it is required to come back and discuss this theme again, thus leaving no room for further misunderstanding.
The role of interim assessments should be emphasized not only as a way to evaluate teacher performance but also to focus on student learning achievements. The recent randomized control trial conducted by Konstantopoulos, Miller, van der Ploeg, and Li (2016) examined the impact of such interim programs as mCLASS in Grades K–2 and Acuity in Grades 3-8 in Indiana (Konstantopoulos et al., 2016).
The authors specified that these programs allowed understanding that students from control schools and those from treatment schools showed insignificantly different results in mathematics and reading. At this point, the fact that interim programs made many teachers re-consider their approaches to instruction and curriculum should be stressed (Konstantopoulos et al., 2016). This means that interim assessments have great potential to positively affect teacher attitudes to the learning process that is rather important to fit the ever-changing educational requirements.
Last but not least, one should propose the implementation of both pre-and post-observation conferences as a means of appropriate planning and scheduling evaluation procedures. Through the use of these procedures, supervisors and teachers will have the opportunity to express their ideas and concerns before and after assessments. As a result, the mentioned activity will contribute to the implementation of the collaborative model of evaluation when both sides work as a team.
Communication Methods for Feedback to Instructors
Flexibility and readiness for change compose the key features of communication methods applied for the proposed model. These competencies are based on actions that ensure the motivation of students, determination of their potential, and planning of academic development. Interaction with others is one of the key processes of a teacher’s work, while the concept of interpersonal interaction should be aimed at revealing the depth of understanding student achievements. The sensitivity and understanding of their feelings and emotions, and at the same time the ability to manage their perceptions, should be used for pedagogical purposes.
Another important quality of a teacher is his or her willingness to build effective relationships with students as well as with their parents and colleagues, providing necessary support to cope with the difficult situation. In this regard, feedback should be employed as a method of communication between an observer and educator. Consistent with the exploratory assumptions of Khachatryan (2015), this paper suggests that the use of feedback informs instruction change via learning enhancement and redesign of the curriculum. According to the recent qualitative research, teacher assessment feedback is perceived by educators as an essential source of looking at their performance from a different angle (Khachatryan, 2015). Therefore, the proposed model requires the generation of timely feedback after the observations.
As for communicative devices that should be used, one may note formal written reports, oral messages, and informal communication via email. The observers will be allowed to select one or several devices with the condition of compulsory written reports. In order to ensure that educators involved in feedback understand the messages provided by observers, their response will be required (Marshall, 2013). Likewise, teachers will be offered to provide feedback by choosing one of the mentioned ways.
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Most importantly, they will be required to implement an observer’s feedback till the next examination. In case a teacher encounters difficulties with understanding what exactly is needed to change or applying feedback in practice, then it should be the responsibility of an observer to assist. In particular, a supervisor should ask about the areas that require clarification and additional discussion. Specific methods of feedback integration may be elaborated in collaboration, depending on a particular situation.
With this in mind, staff development is proposed as a paramount objective of the model, the accomplishment of which will be ensured through feedback and cooperative work on planning and change of teaching strategies (Tomal, Wilhite, Phillips, Sims, & Gibson, 2015). While observers may outline both positive and negative issues as well as potential opportunities, teachers will be expected to ponder over possible ways to improve their professional competencies. What is also important, their personal growth will be targeted as an incentive to obtain new knowledge and skills (Tomal et al., 2015). In other words, the linkages to teachers’ professional development are associated with self-awareness, feedback, and improvement of teaching competencies.
Frequency of Observations, Appraisals, and Communication
The in-class observations will be scheduled to ensure their systematic nature and allow teachers to prepare and integrate feedback. At the same, there will be a place for unscheduled observations to examine usual lessons and learning activities. Zepeda (2017) considers that such comprehensive observations are likely to provide an in-depth understanding of what should be done to enhance teacher performance and student academic success.
In addition, the above initiative will be helpful in preventing a less-than-honest representation of behaviors. The in-class observations will occur twice a month, while their number may be increased in terms of unscheduled visits of supervisors. The number of observations will depend not only on teacher experience but also on student performance, feedback integration, attitudes to collaboration, and the ability to rethink curriculum and instructions as appropriate.
The proposed integrative method of curriculum and instruction appraisal is aimed at the systematic review of teachers’ attitudes to their work and the associated progress. It can be used both to assess their level of pedagogical competence at the time of mini-observations and, simultaneously, to reveal the dynamics in the course of interim assessments (Zepeda, 2017). In the second case, the method should be used to survey a particular teacher at least two times, for example, at the beginning of the course and the end or at the beginning of the academic year and the end. The change in indicators analyzed by this procedure will give an observer an increased understanding of progress in values and level of competence.
Tools, Forms, Documents, and Artifacts
In order to ensure the appropriateness of the appraisal model, it is essential to provide visual tools and forms, thus creating a guideline of the assessment. First of all, Tool 1 is designed in the format of a questionnaire that requires teachers to share their ideas, views, and perspectives on teaching and learning in the classroom environment. Using this tool will allow to objectively assess a teacher’s activity in many areas and inform him or her about the results, which is a good incentive for improving qualification. Form 1 that can be found in Appendices presents a table with such sections as classroom operation, content, inspiration, individualized learning, interaction, and recommendations. The latter is expected to be utilized by observers to provide feedback in the following areas: personal growth, student assessment, and research.
Speaking of the required documents, one should emphasize that they are to be created by observers for personal, informal use to make notes and work on them in the course of assessments. According to Zepeda (2017), the reports should be documented, including all necessary notes regarding teacher evaluation, procedures, recommendations, and any other relevant data. No specific artifacts will be needed in terms of the proposed appraisal model.
The summative feedback will be delivered to a teacher via oral communication, written reports, and/or email. Feedback is a two-way process involving an educator and observer. Depending on the answers of teachers and the subsequent recommendations of observers, the steps and content of the lessons should be adjusted (Darling-Hammond, 2013). The paramount importance of feedback is to allow a teacher to get an idea of the dynamics and completeness of the process of mastering knowledge and development of students based on the evaluation of their activities, advice on how to correct it due to information about shortcomings and achievements. Namely, feedback received as a result of interviews with supervisors will promote change in the design of curriculum and instructions as well as some other teaching and learning forms.
One of the most important conditions of delivering summative feedback is the creation of a psychologically comfortable microclimate and friendly atmosphere before, during, and after the observation (Darling-Hammond, 2013). Total control is traditionally perceived by teachers as the most uncomfortable stage in the teaching process. Therefore, a maximum of attention, demonstration of readiness to listen to them, support, and lack of subjectivity will be applied.
Darling-Hammond (2013) argues that by checking and evaluating the knowledge, competencies, and skills of teachers, observes should be guided not by personal sympathies but is guided by the existing criteria and the aspiration to positive change.
There will be an active user of various types of feedback in the process of communication. In particular, it is possible to encourage teachers to work together on provided feedback or organize individual meetings. The unity of supervising and self-monitoring processes will be achieved for its effective implementation. Since the delayed information can be distorted by a factor of time, one of the main parameters of feedback is making sure that the condition of “here and now” is followed (Darling-Hammond, 2013). Proceeding from the above, the requirements for evaluating the activity of a teacher may be formulated as the prevalence of positive feedback over negative ones.
This does not mean that it is impossible to negatively evaluate a teacher. Instead, when giving a negative yet objective evaluation, an educator should always supplement it with a promising positive assessment of future successes.
The proposed model will not provide any specific feedback form. It would be better if the supervisors would have the opportunity to provide feedback in a free manner. Some of them may prepare their own check-lists for observations, while others will write structured notes. A good teacher evaluator tends to practice various methods, test approaches, the effectiveness of tasks, and change verbal and non-verbal communication behaviors (Zepeda, 2017). It is rather important to be able to evaluate not only lessons but also feelings and perceptions. If there is a possibility, it is better to write down some notes as the data will be more objective than introspection from memory. However, oral feedback should also be provided in a face-to-face dialogue to eliminate any misunderstanding.
To conclude, one should state that the proposed curriculum and instruction appraisal model focuses on creativity, collaboration with a teacher, and timely feedback. The presented model integrates the elements of several above-mentioned models and aims at ensuring a comprehensive teacher performance evaluation. At the same time, the appraisal model directs the enhancement in students’ academic performance through assisting educators to rethink their approaches and attitudes to the teaching process. Through feedback, it is expected that teaching and specific recommendations for moving forward as well as information that helps to understand the gaps in learning will be provided. Accordingly, the selection of new methods, training techniques, and other changes will be promoted, making teaching more effective and students more academically successful.
Darling-Hammond, L. (2013). Getting teacher evaluation right: What really matters for effectiveness and improvement. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Gebhard, J. G. (1984). Models of supervision: Choices. TESOL Quarterly, 18(3), 501-514. Web.
Goldring, E., Grissom, J. A., Rubin, M., Neumerski, C. M., Cannata, M., Drake, T., & Schuermann, P. (2015). Make room value-added: Principals’ human capital decisions and the emergence of teacher observation data. Educational Researcher, 44(2), 96-104. Web.
Khachatryan, E. (2015). Feedback on teaching from observations of teaching: What do administrators say, and what do teachers think about it?. NASSP Bulletin, 99(2), 164-188. Web.
Konstantopoulos, S., Miller, S. R., van der Ploeg, A., & Li, W. (2016). Effects of interim assessments on student achievement: Evidence from a large-scale experiment. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 9(1), 188-208. Web.
Marshall, K. (2013). Rethinking teacher supervision and evaluation: How to work smart, build collaboration, and close the achievement gap (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Tomal, D. R., Wilhite, R. K., Phillips, B., Sims, P. A., & Gibson, N. (2015). Supervision and evaluation for learning and growth: Strategies for teacher and school leader improvement. Lanham, MA: Rowman & Littlefield.
Zepeda, S. J. (2017). Instructional supervision: Applying tools and concepts (4th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
Jónsdóttir, S. R., Gísladóttir, K. R., & Guðjónsdóttir, H. (2015). Using self-study to develop a third space for collaborative supervision of Master’s projects in teacher education. Studying Teacher Education, 11(1), 32-48. Web.
Kaneko-Marques, S. M. (2015). Reflective teacher supervision through videos of classroom teaching. Profile Issues in Teachers Professional Development, 17(2), 63-79. Web.
Supervisory Reflection Activity
As I reflect upon this week’s assignment, I had the pleasure of observing a 6th grade (Honors) Social Studies teacher, Mr. Rivera. For the purpose of this assignment, I will discuss which supervisory models I chose to use while observing Mr. Rivera and the reason the model was selected. For pre-service and in-service teacher education programs, supervision plays an essential role, and there are various supervisory behaviors that can be used in the process of training (Gebhard, 1984). I will also reflect upon the effectiveness of the models as it relates to the given content. Thirdly, I will share my personal knowledge gain about the instructional supervision process while reflecting on and changes I would make if I were to conduct the observation the second time.
Collaborative Supervisory Model
The model of collaborative supervision was chosen due to such factors as the opportunity to establish trustful relationships with the teacher, ask more questions, and evaluate the lesson from the perceptive of a potential contributor. The teacher’s plans regarding the work with students, namely accountable talk strategies and Socratic seminar, also affected the selection of the theoretical model.
In his turn, Mr. Rivera seemed to be willing to share his ideas and approaches he uses to teach students, which shows that the selected collaborative supervision model proved to be effective. More to the point, he asked about my suggestions regarding teaching as he considers that cooperation with supervisors may improve education as a whole. Such mutual interest in the collaboration demonstrates that both sides may significantly promote greater problem-solving potential in the context of a certain classroom environment.
The lesson that I have observed presented a lot of insights regarding the assessment of the teacher’s performance, his interaction with students, and their discussions. From my point of view, this lesson integrated several approaches to teaching and learning that allowed keeping students engaged during the whole lesson. I would like to emphasize that Mr. Rivera was sensitive to the students and tried to encourage them to discuss issues in terms of the accountable talk activities. I think that the lesson went well since the planned initiatives were implemented, and the students demonstrated a good understanding of the material presented.
The activities I have observed during this lesson were diverse and exciting. Since the collaborative supervision model implies direct work with teachers without guiding them, I tried to establish relationships and shared responsibility to problem-solving processes. At this point, the fact that some of the students in the classroom were gifted required additional attention from the teacher to their needs and expectations. As argued by Gebhard (1984), the teacher and educator should “pose a hypothesis, experiment, and implement strategies” to contribute to a certain problem and ultimately achieve its successful resolution (p. 506). In this connection, my observation was organized in an active yet not directing manner so that to ensure that the teacher would achieve the stated teaching and learning goals.
To understand the lesson goals and outcomes, I communicated with Mr. Rivera and asked him the following questions: what do you think about the lesson? Did your objectives were accomplished? What are the positive learning issues you have noted in students’ performance? (Gebhard,1984). The teacher responded as appropriate and clarified all the required points based on the mentioned questions.
It should be noted that I also tried to evaluate the extent to which the learning goals were implemented. From my point of view, Mr. Rivera succeeded with his objectives set during the planning phase. I suggest that further development of academic dialogue and cooperative learning may significantly benefit students’ achievement, thus leading to better learning and practical use of obtained knowledge. In this connection, it is possible to state that the applied model of the collaborative supervision model was effective and thought-provoking.
Personal Knowledge Gained About the Instructional Supervision Process
The observation of the identified lesson was rather important for me to practice my knowledge and skills in supervising and evaluating. I have learned how to consider the learning activities through the prism of the theoretical perspectives, namely, Gebhard’s supervision. Consistent with the assumptions provided in the article by Jónsdóttir, Gísladóttir, and Guðjónsdóttir (2015), I can state that supervision should be perceived as a shared responsibility of a teacher and the supervisor.
This observation was useful to understand the very process of teaching and how to evaluate it from the perspective of a supervisor in terms of the collaborative approach of Gebhard (1984). My personal knowledge obtained in the course of the observation includes the increased awareness of active listening techniques and student engagement strategies. The application of the mentioned model allowed me concentrating on cooperation with the teacher.
As for my expected goals, I wanted to gain knowledge on the observation process and issues I should note about instructional supervision. Also, I expected to establish relationships with the target teacher. Therefore, I can conclude that the initial goals were accomplished. According to Kaneko-Marques (2015), the cooperative model should stimulate discovery and problem-solving processes. Indeed, I have learned that I can contribute to the situation and suggest relevant ideas on how to decide regarding one or another issue. For example, together with the teacher, we discussed the way the Socratic seminar may be improved. If I were to perform the observation the second time, I would probably, select the model of the creative supervision to consider the process from a different perspective. I would pay more attention to a teacher’s perceptions, ideas, and ways to accomplish goals, as well as the impact of these issues on students’ performance.
In conclusion, the selected supervisory behavior of collaboration proved to be effective as it helped me to build productive relationships with Mr. Rivera, understand his teaching goals and expected learning outcomes. At the same time, I had the opportunity to express my suggestions and ideas regarding further work in the field of accountable talks and group discussions. I consider that this observation was rather beneficial for receiving new knowledge and applying the theory in practice.