3 instruments to evaluate teacher quality in math stand out

iStock_000010045687XSmallOf 9 instruments used to evaluate teaching quality in math, 3 instruments were found to have the most desirable characteristics, according to a study in Early Childhood Education Journal. Those 3 instruments are: COEMET (pre-K), the RTOP (K-University) and the Inside the Classroom Observation Pro (K-12), the researchers report.

While the researchers’ focus was on measuring teaching quality at the preschool level, instruments for all grade levels were evaluated. Only COEMET is for the preschool age group, the other 2 instruments are for K-12. However, based on their study, the researchers note that RTOP seems to be more suited for older grades (grades 6 to university level) whereas the Inside the Classroom Observation Protocol seems to be better suited to the younger grades (grades K-5).

“The broad range of applicability for many of these measures is possible because they do not focus on information that is specific to an age range, instead addressing constructs that apply to education of students of all ages,” the researchers report.

All 3 instruments have goals that are specifically aligned with the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Standards and examine lesson, teaching and classroom characteristics important in a measure of quality. They were the only instruments to measure teacher-student interactions.

“Research suggests that teacher-child interactions are a primary mediator of educational practice, significantly influencing child outcomes,” the researchers write. “Therefore the quality of those interactions is of significant concern.”

“An Analysis of Instruments that Measure the Quality of Mathematics Teaching in Early Childhood,” by Carolyn Kilday and Mable Kinzie, Early Childhood Education Journal, 2009, Volume 36, pps. 365-372.

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