The Content, Predictive Power, and Potential Bias in Five Widely Used Teacher Observation Instruments

Publisher: Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory Mid- Atlantic
Nov 01, 2016
Brian Gill, Megan Shoji, Thomas Coen, and Kate Place

Key Findings: 


  • Eight of ten dimensions of instructional practice are common across all five examined teacher observation instruments.
  • All seven of the dimensions of instructional practice with quantitative data are modestly but significantly related to teachers’ value-added scores.
  • The classroom management dimension is most consistently and strongly related to teachers’ value-added scores across instruments, subjects, and grades.
  • The characteristics of students in the classroom affect teacher observation results for some instruments, more often in English language arts classes than in math classes.
This study seeks to inform decisions about the selection and use of teacher observation instruments using data from the Measures of Effective Teaching project. It compares five widely used observation instruments on the practices they measure, their relationship to student learning, and whether they are affected by the characteristics of students in a teacher’s classroom.