Schoolzone | Observing effective mathematics teaching

Observing effective mathematics teaching

Date: 27.07.2019

The review has drawn on six specific frameworks. These vary in terms of whether they are mathematics-specific or not; whether their purpose is to identify the effectiveness or quality of teaching, or primarily for professional development; and the extent to which there have been studies into their reliability and validity. Important points to consider regarding frameworks for classroom observations include the following:

  • Observations on their own are not reliable enough to make secure judgements about the quality of individual lessons for the purposes of ‘high-stakes’ judgements. Nonetheless, reliability can be improved through the use of multiple trained observers, observing a range of lessons with the same teacher, using more than one instrument; and through combining the observation data with other sources of evidence, such as student questionnaires, attainment-based measures of value-added and examples of their work during the lesson.
  • In international studies, it is important to recognise that expert opinion may be needed to offer a clear focus for any lesson observations conducted; to ensure agreement about the main constructs to be covered and how they are measured; and to provide training to enhance the reliability and validity of the data to be used in any cross-country comparisons.


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