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The Use of Classroom Walk-Through Observations as a Strategy to Improve Teaching and Learning: A Student Centered Perspective

Dissertation
Author: Jr. Thomas R. Sorensen
Abstract:
Due to the increasing pressure of meeting the demands of No Child Left Behind, and reducing the achievement gap between subgroups of school populations, school administrators across the nation have implemented a variety of short classroom walk-through observations. A walk-through is defined as a 3-5 minute observation of the classroom teacher by the building principal resulting in a collection of data pertaining to classroom instruction. The ABC school district, the focus of this study, implemented classroom walk-throughs in an effort to improve teaching and learning and ultimately improve student achievement. My co-researchers and I analyzed the relationship between walk-through observations conducted in the ABC school district and subsequent performance on standardized Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) scores in the areas of Communication Arts and Mathematics. We also examined the possible effect of the walk-throughs on the dependent variables of summer school enrollment, number of students retained, and school climate as measured by the numbers of reported discipline referrals. Data were collected from 1,052 walk-through observations conducted at three middle schools in the ABC school district over a span of three years. Correlations were calculated on walk-through data to determine a possible relationship between the performance of walk-through observations and changes in the dependent variables. The findings showed a decrease in discipline referrals, summer school placement, and retention, and an increase in student achievement in regards to Communication Art MAP test scores and Mathematics MAP test scores. It cannot be concluded that the classroom walk-through observations are the reason for the increase in student achievement, however a correlation exists between the variables. It was important for the researchers to go beyond the data to effectively illustrate the potential importance of using walk-throughs to improve teaching. The analysis of the walk-through process was addressed from the perspective of students regarding the qualities of an effective teacher. Students are the main benefactors of the effort to improve teaching; however, they are often given little voice in determining what should be done to improve education. This study went beyond the data and incorporated the students' voice into the school improvement process.

iv Table of Contents page List of Tables.......................................................................................................................x List of Figures…….……………………………………………………………………...xii Chapter One – Introduction…………………………………………………………….....1 Problem Statement…...............................................................................................2 Walk-through Form Definitions..............................................................................2 Rationale …….……...............................................................................................5 Purpose of Study.....................................................................................................7 Research Questions..................................................................................................7 Independent Variables.............................................................................................8 Dependent Variables. ..............................................................................................8 Communication Arts MAP Scores…………………………..………….…9 Mathematics MAP Scores…………………………………………………9 Summer School Enrollment Numbers…………………………………….9 Number of Students Retained…….……………………………….………9 Number of Discipline Referrals………………………..………………….9 Hypothesis…………………………….…………..……………………………….9 Null Hypothesis #1………………………………………………………..9 Null Hypothesis #2…………………………..……………..……………..9 Null Hypothesis #3………………………………………………………10 Null Hypothesis #4…………………………………………….……..…10 Null Hypothesis #5……………………..……………...………..….……10 Alternative Hypothesis # 1 …………........................................................10

v Alternative Hypothesis # 2. .......................................................................10 Alternative Hypothesis # 3. .......................................................................10 Alternative Hypothesis # 4………………..………...……………………10 Alternative Hypothesis # 5……………………………………..……..….11 Generalizations…………………………………………………………………..11 Limitations of the Study. .......................................................................................10 Lack of training on walk-through process.................................................11 Walk-through observation form................................................................11 Demographics and socioeconomic status…..............................................12 Data usage..................................................................................................12 Numbers of walk-throughs performed.......................................................12 Instructional practice..................................................................................13 Five minute time length.............................................................................13 Correlation coefficients.............................................................................14 Perspectives……………………………………………………………………....14 Summary…............................................................................................................15 Chapter Two – Review of the Literature..........................................................................16 Teacher Evaluations...............................................................................................16 Self evaluation…...…...………………………………………………….17 Administrative observation………………………………………………17 Reliability and validity of teacher evaluations…………………………...19 Teacher evaluation feedback……………………………………………..19 Teacher involvement in evaluations……………………………………..20

vi Classroom Walk-Through Observations…………………………………………21 History of Learning Assessments…………………….……..…………………...27 History of Missouri Assessment Program……………………………………….27 Instructional Strategies…………………………………………………………..30 Academic Predictors……………………………………………………………..32 Summary................................................................................................................44 Chapter Three – Methodology...........................................................................................46 Introduction……....................................................................................................46 Hypothesis……………..........................................................................................47 Participants………….…………………………....................................................48 Sampling Procedure……………………...............................................................49 Research Setting………………….………………………………………………51 Procedure...............................................................................................................62 Summary................................................................................................................65 Chapter Four – Results……………………………………………...................................68 Introduction………………..….………………………………………………….68 Results………........................................................................................................69 Treatment of Data..................................................................................................72 Results and Analysis of Data.................................................................................71 Null hypothesis # 1.. .................................................................................73 Null hypothesis # 2.. .................................................................................73 Null hypothesis # 3.. .................................................................................73 Null hypothesis # 4…………………………………...…..……………...73

vii Null hypothesis # 5…………………………………….………………...74 Alternative hypothesis # 1. .......................................................................74 Alternative hypothesis # 2. .......................................................................74 Alternative hypothesis # 3. .......................................................................74 Alternative hypothesis # 4……….…………………….………………...74 Alternative hypothesis # 5…………………………………………….…74 Correlation Coefficient and t-test analysis………..……………………….…..…74 Limitations of the Data..........................................................................................89 Deductive Conclusions and Summary...................................................................91 Chapter Five – Discussion………….................................................................................97 Introduction………………………………………………………………………97 Implication for Middle Schools. ...........................................................................98 Implications for Students.….….….….….……….….….…………….………...100 Basic Character Traits………..…………….……….…………………………..103 Personality Traits…….……………..…………………………………………..105 Teaching Methods………….………………….………………………………..107 Recommendations……………………………………........................................109 Factors to Include in Future Studies……………………………………………111 Summary………………………………..………………………………………112 References….….………………………………………………………………………..113 Appendix A……….…………....……………………...………………………….…….121 Appendix B……….…………………………………………………………………….122 Appendix C……………………………………………………………………………..123

viii Vitae……………………………………………………………………………………124

ix List of Tables page Table 1. Proposed and Actual Walk-Through Observations by School and Year…..…...13 Table 2. MAP Scale Score Reliability and Coefficients …………………….…………..29 Table 3. Wall-Through Observations by School....……………..……………….………69 Table 4. Walk-Through Observations by Subject and School…...……..………………..71 Table 5. Middle School A. MAP Scores and Classroom Walk-Through Observations Performed for 3-Year Period with Calculated Correlation Coefficient and T-Test............................................................................................................….....76 Table 6. Middle School B. MAP Scores and Classroom Walk-Through Observations Performed for 3-Year Period with Calculated Correlation Coefficient and T-Test…………………………………………………………..………………..77 Table 7. Middle School C. MAP Scores and Classroom Walk-Through Observations Performed for 3-Year Period with Calculated Correlation Coefficient and T-Test….……………………………………………………………………..…78 Table 8. Middle School A. Number of Discipline Referrals with Calculated Correlation Coefficient and T-Test…………………………….……………………..……...79 Table 9. Middle School B. Number of Discipline Referrals with Calculated Correlation Coefficient and T-Test…………………………………………….…….………80 Table 10. Middle School C. Number of Referrals per Student with Calculated Correlation Coefficient and T-Test…………………………………….….…….……………81 Table 11. Number of Students Attending Summer School for Each Middle School as per Year Studied. ……………………………………..……..………………….……82

x Table 12. Middle School A. Percentage of Students Attending Summer School with Calculated Correlation Coefficient and T-Test…………………………………..83 Table 13. Middle School B. Percentage of Students Attending Summer School with Calculated Correlation Coefficient and T-Test……………..…………..….….…84 Table 14. Middle School C. Percentage of Students Attending Summer School with Calculated Correlation Coefficient and T-Test…………………..……….……...85 Table 15. Students Retained by Middle School…………………….…………..….…….86 Table 16. Students Retained at Middle School A Conducted with Calculated Correlation Coefficient and T-Test………………...………………………............................87 Table 17. Students Retained at Middle School B Conducted with Calculated Correlation Coefficient and T-Test………………………………………………..….………88 Table 18. Students Retained at Middle School C Conducted with Calculated Correlation Coefficient and T-Test…………………....…….………………….…….………89 Table 19. Summary Results for School A…..…………………………………….……..92 Table 20. Summary Results for School B……………………………………….……….93 Table 21. Summary Results for School C………………………………………..………94 Table 22. Important Character Traits for Teachers……..………..……..……….….…..104 Table 23. Important Personality Traits for Teachers…………...………..……..….…...106 Table 24. Important Teaching Methods for Teachers…………..…..…………...….…..108

xi List of Figures page Figure 1. Enrollment Middle School A………………………………………...….…….54 Figure 2. Middle School A demographics…………….…….………………….…….….54 Figure 3. Middle School A free and reduced lunch…………..………………...…….….55 Figure 4. Middle School A stability rate………………..……..……………....………....55 Figure 5. Enrollment Middle School B ………………………...………………………..57 Figure 6. Middle School B demographics……………………….……………..….….....57 Figure 7. Middle School B free and reduced lunch………...………….…….………..…58 Figure 8. Middle School B stability rate……..…………………………………………..58 Figure 9. Enrollment Middle School C..............................................................................60 Figure 10. Middle School C demographics……..………………………………….........60 Figure 11. Middle School C free and reduced lunch……………………………..……...61 Figure 12. Middle School C stability rate……..………………….……………..…….....61 Figure 13. Number of classroom walk-through observations performed at each school during each school year……………………………………………………....….70 Figure 14. Basic character traits for teachers……………..………………………...…..105 Figure 15. Important personality traits for teachers…………..…….…………………..106 Figure 16. Important teaching methods for teachers……………….…………..……....108

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Chapter One - Introduction This collaborative project came about after we, the three co-researchers, had discussed classroom walk-through observations and wondered if they could really have an impact on improved student achievement, while also contributing to decreased discipline referrals, summer school placements, and the amount of students being retained. Our research study represents the work of three doctoral students—Leslie McEntire, Mark Weller, and Thomas Sorensen. Leslie McEntire is an Elementary classroom teacher in neighboring school district. She conducted and evaluated the study based on the perspective of a classroom teacher. Mark Weller is an Assistant Principal in middle school B in school district ABC and conducted and evaluated the study based on the an administrative perspective. I am a guidance counselor and guidance department chair in school B in the ABC school district. We began our efforts to conduct this research study by meeting with the Superintendent of the ABC school district, and asking his permission to perform this study. He was glad that this study was being done. He was curious as well, to see if the classroom walk-through observations were indeed productive. After initially meeting with the Superintendent, we began gathering data from all of the classroom walk-through observations performed. This part of the research process was supported by the assistant superintendent of testing and evaluation, and completed through the use of the ABC school district Intranet, which allows most district data to be available to all district administrators. Due to the large amount of data gathered throughout the entire school district over a two-year period, we limited our research study to only the three middle

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schools in the ABC school district. We then focused on gathering data and began to analyze the data when almost immediately, we noticed an improvement trend in the area’s Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) scores, and decreases in summer school placement, the total retained students, and total numbers of discipline referrals which indicated the potential of a correlation. Going beyond the data, we then looked at the observation form itself and discussed the limitations, potential improvements to the form and its use, and how the classroom walk-through observations affected each of us from our own professional perspective. Problem Statement The purpose of this study was to determine if walk-through observations conducted at three different middle schools in the ABC school district had a positive effect in the areas of achievement on the Communication Arts and Math MAP test, It also investigated the relationship between the number of walk-throughs and number of students enrolled in summer school, number of students retained, and school climate as measured by numbers of discipline referrals. In the study we looked at data generated by short classroom observations conducted by principals, and other district administrators. Every time an administrator conducted a walk-through, he or she completed a document, which was then scanned to make an electronic image, collected and stored by the district, and finally analyzed as data for this research study. (see Appendix B). Walk-Through Form Definitions Data from each walk-through observation conducted is documented on a scan- able one page form. In an effort to improve usability, the ABC school district revised the

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form for the third time in August 2008. The revised document looked at instructional delivery, strategies, student engagement level, types of technology used, the classroom learning environment, and use of Depth of Knowledge (DOK) level, which is a system of levels for measuring rigor in a activity or assessment. The school district developed a Power Point presentation to explain important terminology of the form and train administrators in its use. I included the more important ones as follows. Extensive: “E” is for extensive. During the observation, the instructional strategy is used approximately 90% or more of the time. Moderate: “M” is for moderate. During the observation, the instructional strategy is used approximately 75% to 89% of the time. Slight: “S” is for slight. During the observation, the instructional strategy is used approximately 50% to 74% of the time. Depth of Knowledge (DOK): System of four levels for accessing the rigor required to complete and activity, lesson or assessment. (DOK 1) Recall: The ability to recall or recognize facts, concept, or procedure. (DOK 2) Skill/concept: The ability to apply basic skills and concepts. (DOK 3) Strategic thinking: The ability to reason and develop a plan of approach to solving a problem. Extended thinking (DOK 4): The ability to analyze, investigate, think through, and produce a multiple step process to problem-solve and support the decision. Standards-driven accountability. Holding schools and districts accountable through the process of standards and standardized testing.

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Standard English. Grammatically and structurally pronounce sound sentences in conversation. Distance learning. Teacher and students are separated by time, location, or both (real-time electronic field trips, video conferencing, etc.). Similarities and differences. Using comparisons, classification, metaphors, or analogies, students will identify likeness of selected items. Reinforcing effort/providing feedback. Teacher conveys expectations and provides an explanation of correct or incorrect responses. Teacher may also praise students for specific accomplishments, effort, or teamwork. Nonlinguistic representation. Teacher uses visual imagery, kinesthetic activity, or auditory experiences to instill acquired and retained knowledge within students. Advance organizers. Allows the learner to recall and transfer prior knowledge to new information that is about to be presented. Differentiated instruction. Providing multiple options of presenting information to meet the needs of all students. The study used the data generated by 1,052 walk-through observations to determine if there was a correlation between the walk-through observations (independent variables) and achievement data on the Communication Arts and Math portions of the (MAP test), the number of students required to attend summer school, the number of students retained, and the number of students with discipline referrals from the previous three years (dependent variables). Even though walk-throughs are conducted in all subject areas, we concentrated our study in Communication Arts and Math since those

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are subjects that No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) evaluates. We believed there would be a correlation between walk-throughs and the dependent variables, due to the effects of an increase in visibility and engagement by the building administrators. Common sense dictates that principals are able to be more proactive on academic, behavioral and building concerns when they actively move through the building and get out of the principal’s office. Rationale Every few years a report is published that blames the public schools for the United States being behind in one thing or another. Since I was a child, I have repeatedly heard about what was to be the first of many such instances. The year was 1957, and the Soviet Union had launched the Sputnik satellite. There was a public outcry stating the United States was behind in math and science and the schools were at fault. Fifty-one years later, schools are still working to help educators provide a first rate education for American children. Today’s dilemma is to meet the requirements of the NCLB by having a certain percentage of the school’s population scoring advanced or proficient on the statewide achievement tests. According to NCLB, states must establish a definition of adequate yearly progress (AYP). Districts must “ensure that all groups of students- including low-income students, students from major racial and ethnic groups, students with disabilities, and students with limited English proficiency-reach proficiency within 12 years” (NCLB Desk Reference, 2002, p. 17). The requirements of NCLB help provide accountability to our schools. It is not merely enough to educate all children, schools are

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required to reduce the achievement gap between high and low achieving students, by requiring all students be proficient on state assessments regardless of ability. On the surface, the idea of closing the achievement gap and requiring all subgroups of students proficient by the end of 2013-2014 school year sounds like an important goal. In reality, it is a major stressor for school districts across the nation to meet the requirement of closing the achievement gap, by having all subgroups score proficient on state wide mandated assessments. The stress is added to school districts through the high stakes penalties of not meeting the requirements of all subgroup populations meeting AYP. School districts that fail to make AYP for two consecutive years are identified as in need of improvement. Districts that continue to not meet AYP face other measures such as public school choice, where parents can transfer their children to a non-failing school. A potentially worse consequence is possible state take over and restructuring of the school district. One recent example of such restructuring occurred in the City of St. Louis public schools in 2007 after failing to meet AYP two years in a row. The Missouri state school board voted to remove accreditation and strip the locally elected school board of its power, appointing a three-member panel. The three member panel was appointed by the city’s mayor, city board of alderman, and governor. This new arrangement of power will last six years (Archer, 2007). In an effort to reduce the achievement gap, and avoid the label of “in need of improvement,” school districts have implemented many new initiatives. One such initiative implemented by school districts across the nation is the walk-through observation. Building principals believe

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that simply more regular presence of administrators in the class room will create a positive effect on several factors regarding achievement and building climate. Purpose of Study This study investigated the relationship between walk-through observations performed by building administrators and subsequent performance on standardized Communication Art and Math MAP assessments. It also investigated the relationship between the number of walk-throughs and numbers of students enrolled in summer school, number of students retained, and school climate as measured by number of discipline referrals. The use of walk-through observations should be used as a tool to improve instruction. In an effective observation and feedback loop where teachers are observed and given feedback for areas of improvement, there should be a positive relationship between the walk-throughs and improvement in MAP scores, numbers of students enrolled in summer school, students retained, and climate as measured by the number of discipline referrals. In the ABC school district many teachers are observed in walk-through observations multiple times a year, but unfortunately, due to time constrains or lack of follow through by the administrators the teacher does not receive feedback from the administrator on the observations at ABC school district. In an effective feedback loop, administrators would have time to provide valuable feedback and teachers would follow through with the feedback to improve instruction. Research Questions The following research questions were answered in the study: 1. What is the relationship between the number of walk-through observations in

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a particular school and subsequent scores on the Communication Arts portion of the (MAP) test? 2. What is the relationship between the number of walk-through observations in a particular school and subsequent scores on the Math portion of the (MAP) test? 3. What is the relationship between the number of walk-through observations in a particular school and the number of students enrolled in that schools summer school program? 4. What is the relationship between the number of walk-through observations in a particular school and the number of students retained at the end of that school year? 5. What is the relationship between the number of walk-through observations in a particular school and the total number of discipline referrals that occur in that school? Independent Variables The independent variable of our study was the number of walk-through observations conducted at each middle school. This data was analyzed by examining the forms completed by the administrators during the walk-through observations. The relationship between walk-through observations conducted over a two year period, and their relationship to the dependent variables was investigated. Dependent Variables Communication arts portion of the MAP test. The first dependent variable of our study

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was the achievement data from the Seventh and Eighth grade Communication arts portion of the MAP test measured in April of each year over a three year period. Mathematics portion of MAP test. The second dependent variable of our study was the achievement data from the Seventh and Eighth grade Mathematics portion of the MAP test measured in April of each year over a three year period. Summer school enrollment numbers at each middl e school. The third dependent variable of our study was the number of students enrolled in summer school at each middle school at the end of each year school year. Number of students retained in their academic grade at each middle school. The fourth dependent variable of our study was the number of students retained in their academic grade at the end of each school year. Number of discipline referrals at each middle school. The fifth dependent variable of our study was the total number of discipline referrals received by assistant principals at each middle school each year. Hypothesis Null hypothesis #1. There will be no significant correlation between the number of walk-through observations conducted and scores on the Communication Arts portion of the MAP test. Null hypothesis #2. There will be no significant correlation between the number of walk-through observations conducted and scores on the Math portion of the MAP test.

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Null hypothesis #3. There will be no significant correlation between the number of walk-through observations conducted and the number of students enrolled in the summer school program at each middle school. Null hypothesis #4. There will be no significant correlation between the number of walk-through observations conducted and the number of students retained in their grade level at each middle school Null hypothesis #5. There will be no significant correlation between the number of walk-through observations conducted each year and the total number of discipline referrals at each middle school. Alternative hypothesis #1. There will be a positive correlation between the number of walk-through observations conducted and scores on the Communication Arts portion of the MAP test. Alternative hypothesis #2. There will be a positive correlation between the number of walk-through observations conducted and scores on the Math portion of the MAP test Alternative hypothesis #3. There will be a positive correlation between the number of walk-through observations conducted and the number of students enrolled in the summer school program of each Middle School at each middle school. Alternative hypothesis #4. There will be a positive correlation between the number of walk-through observations conducted each year and the number of students retained in their grade level at each middle school.

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Alternative hypothesis #5. There will be a positive correlation between the number of walk-through observations conducted each year and the total number of discipline referrals at each middle school. Generalizations Results of this study could be applied to schools and school districts with demographics similar to and different from the study locations, three suburban middle schools. The school district is located in a suburban area in the Midwest. The study included three middle schools with varying enrollments, demographics, and socioeconomic makeup in grades 7 and 8 with a total enrollment of approximately 2,072 students (Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education [DESE], 2008b). Limitations of Study The study potentially has several limitations. Lack of training on walk-through process. In a discussion with a middle school assistant principal in school district ABC it was revealed that at the time of the study the amount of training given to administrators on conducting the walk-through process differed among the three middle schools. There seems to be little time spent on training principals to be consistent in how they completed the form to assess instructional practices. Some schools trained their teachers on the walk-through process, while other schools did not explain the observation process at all. Walk-through observation form. The design of the form may be perceived differently by each principal doing observations, and can lead to misrepresentation of

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actual instructional practice. Not all possible instructional practices are evaluated by the form, even though all instructional practice has some effect on student achievement. Demographics and socioeconomic status. The demographics of the three middle schools vary by race, free and reduced lunch population, and average family income. Each of the three middle schools has a slightly different demographic makeup. Data usage. The administrators in ABC school district performed over 6,000 walk-through observations. The data, when used as feedback, should provide valuable insights to whether teachers are utilizing teaching methods considered important in raising achievement. It would make sense that as more teachers utilize those methods, achievement scores should rise. In the three schools studied, data were not shared with the school staff who could utilize the data to make educational decisions on instructional delivery. Numbers of walk-throughs performed. There were inconsistencies in the number of observations done in each building and by each principal, and of each teacher. The administrators in school C performed only an average of 11 observations per year in the 2 year period compared to school B that averaged 235, and school A that averaged 279. The expectation when starting this project was that all classrooms would be observed once per week for approximately five minutes by the principal or assistant principal. That request however, was transformed for the 2007-2008 school year (second year of the study). During the second year of research in this study, principals and assistant principals were requested to observe each classroom once every two weeks rather than

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once per week. Table 1 displays a comparison of expected versus obtained walk-through numbers. Even the lowered expectations for the second year were not met.

Table 1 Proposed and Actual Walk-Through Observations by School and Year School

# of teachers Weeks

Year 1 Proposed Year 1 Actual Year 2 Proposed Year 2 Actual A 65 36 2340 346 1170 213 B 54 36 1944 180 972 291 C 38 36 1368 12 684 10

Instructional practice. Even though we were comparing three middle schools in the same district, we were comparing three different settings with different instructors delivering curriculum as they interpreted it. Instructional delivery often varies from teacher to teacher within the same building. This limitation should be minimized by processes put into place by the district to have teachers teaching the developed curriculum in consistent ways. Five-minute time length. The five minute time length of the observation was intended to be a snapshot representation of classroom instruction, and then generalized back to the school teaching population as an overall portrait of teaching and learning in the school. This was an appropriate amount of time if principals were adhering to the plan of observing each classroom 684 times a year. School C only had 22 observations over

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two years, which seriously compromises the validity of the data collected. The five minute time length is not enough if only a small number of observations are conducted. Correlation coefficients with too many variables. The study was completed utilizing correlation coefficients; however, it was very difficult to control the variables. The weaknesses in the data will be discussed further in Chapter Four. Perspectives I conducted and evaluated the study from a student centered perspective. Students are the reason we are in the field of education. They are the consumer of our product. Sadly, students are often left out of the equation when topics regarding raising achievement are discussed. Principals and teachers often discuss curriculum, Grade Level Expectation’s, the MAP test, Professional Learning Communities and many other current educational topics without discussing how students perceive all aspects of the educational process. The current walk-through process does not address those student centered concerns which have an impact on student achievement. We studied walk-through observations and determined whether there was a positive correlation between walk-throughs and achievement on the Communication Arts and Math MAP tests, numbers of students attending summer school, numbers of students retained, and school climate as measured by numbers of discipline referrals. Chapter Two will discuss the literature gathered regarding walk-through observations as well as the dependent variables of summer school enrollment, retention, and climate as measured by numbers of discipline referrals. The similarities and differences between walk-throughs and performance based teacher evaluations will be discussed as well.

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Summary The administrators of the ABC school district conducted over 6,000 observations in 23 schools over a two year period; however, we limited our research study to only the three middle schools in the district. We calculated correlation coefficients using data from 1,052 classroom observations, and due to implied limitations with inferring causality in such data, we decided to go beyond the data by looking at individual perspectives. This study was conducted by three co-researchers all working in the field of education. Two of the researchers worked at the middle school level and the third at the elementary level. All three co-researchers evaluated the study based on their roles. The three perspectives were of the administrative, teacher, and student centered perspectives. As I am a Guidance Department Chair in a middle school, my perspective was evaluated from the student centered perspective. We then looked at the observation form itself and discussed the limitations, potential improvements to the form and its use, and how the classroom walk-through observations affected each of us from our own professional perspective. In the next chapter, I will discuss the current literature on classroom walk- through observations.

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Chapter 2-Review of Literature Introduction If the data we have generated proves useful in addressing the need for improvement in the academic areas of Communication Arts and Math MAP scores, numbers of students enrolled in summer school, retention, and climate as measured by numbers of discipline referrals, then we need some background information from the literature on each of these areas. The first part of this literature review examines research in the following areas; achievement on the Communication Arts and Math MAP test, number of students enrolled in summer school, number of students retained, and school climate as measured by numbers of discipline referrals. The review of literature contains other studies that have examined teacher evaluations and classroom walk-through observations. The review of literature covers topics within the research with additional literature on teacher quality, as well as the history of assessment. Teacher Evaluations In the past, education was an expectation for all students and how well they performed was up to them. That is no longer the case. Teacher accountability is a key part in the success of the student’s learning. Teacher observations are a way to know what is being taught in the class as well as the delivery method of the content being taught. Teacher evaluation commonly takes place in two ways. One is self evaluation and the other is a planned administrative observation. Teacher observations are used to examine the delivery of the curriculum content as well as the behavior of the students (Danielson & McGreal, 2000).

Full document contains 139 pages
Abstract: Due to the increasing pressure of meeting the demands of No Child Left Behind, and reducing the achievement gap between subgroups of school populations, school administrators across the nation have implemented a variety of short classroom walk-through observations. A walk-through is defined as a 3-5 minute observation of the classroom teacher by the building principal resulting in a collection of data pertaining to classroom instruction. The ABC school district, the focus of this study, implemented classroom walk-throughs in an effort to improve teaching and learning and ultimately improve student achievement. My co-researchers and I analyzed the relationship between walk-through observations conducted in the ABC school district and subsequent performance on standardized Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) scores in the areas of Communication Arts and Mathematics. We also examined the possible effect of the walk-throughs on the dependent variables of summer school enrollment, number of students retained, and school climate as measured by the numbers of reported discipline referrals. Data were collected from 1,052 walk-through observations conducted at three middle schools in the ABC school district over a span of three years. Correlations were calculated on walk-through data to determine a possible relationship between the performance of walk-through observations and changes in the dependent variables. The findings showed a decrease in discipline referrals, summer school placement, and retention, and an increase in student achievement in regards to Communication Art MAP test scores and Mathematics MAP test scores. It cannot be concluded that the classroom walk-through observations are the reason for the increase in student achievement, however a correlation exists between the variables. It was important for the researchers to go beyond the data to effectively illustrate the potential importance of using walk-throughs to improve teaching. The analysis of the walk-through process was addressed from the perspective of students regarding the qualities of an effective teacher. Students are the main benefactors of the effort to improve teaching; however, they are often given little voice in determining what should be done to improve education. This study went beyond the data and incorporated the students' voice into the school improvement process.