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The ReVIEW Team

Reduce Bias: Focus on Tasks not Teachers

3 min read

Remixed from: The New York Times’ Double Standards flickr photo by HonestReporting.com shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Surprisingly (cue sarcasm) very few evaluators self-report bias influencing their observations. People know how to respond to survey questions with the socially appropriate answer. They can't be bias because they know being bias is bad.

You are bias. I am bias. This influences our observations because it permeates every bit our existence. Instead of trying to eliminate bias let us recognize that we all bring unique perspectives and life experiences to our teaching and this  impacts our classroom.

When you recognize multiple perspectives you can begin to see beyond the teacher and recognize the practices that best improve student learning.

The existence of bias does not mean we shouldn't do everything we can to reduce it. it just means we can not eliminate it completely. In teacher observations this goes far beyond the critical goals of reducing racial, social, and cognitive bias in the classroom.

Bias Exists in  Practices of  the Classroom.

You may have a favorite method of reading instruction. You may believe that rote math learning will always do more for learning than area models. Opinions about standardized testing, charter, choice, and testing can impact a teacher's daily life and you may not share the same ideas.

Yet the biggest threat of bias in teacher observations emerge from the pre-existing relationship between the administrator and the teacher. People and our motivations do not always fit nicely in rubric boxes.

While schools must nuture a relationship of feedback and growth an evaluator must always consider the task over the teacher. This helps to reduce bias and also increases instructional capacity.

Learning from Research

Valarie Schute, in her review of the research on formative feedback, found a focus on the task rather than a learner drives growth. In other words if you focus your observation on the learning in the classroom you reduce your bias and help the teacher.

To steady your focus on learning and not the learner we recommend letting your framework for effective teaching drive your written observations.  This means putting the computer down and opening not just you ears but also your mouth and eyes

When you work with a teacher we suggest letting key lever coaching drive the conversation. Your schools chosen framework acts as a driver of the conversation. You utilize the evidence of tasks the teacher use and what you know about effective teaching to coach the teacher to new levels of growth.

If you want to learn more about how to use ReVIEW Talent Feedback system to focus your feedback on the task and not the teacher email greg@reviewtalentfeedback.com.

The ReVIEW Team

Seeking Partners in India for Research Study on Teacher Evaluation

4 min read


Humayupur's public school-1 flickr photo by New Delhices shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

Learning is universal. Yet across the globe schools struggle to address the shifting economic, political, and social forces that our networked society has unleashed on the world.

 

Sometimes we all just need to take a deep breath. Let’s take a step back and realize if learning is universal than many of the lessons we have learned over the centuries still apply.

 

Focus on Growth

We believe feedback is one of the great truths of teaching. Modern research, specifically the work of John Hattie, provides data to something every exemplary educator knows.  If feedback helps student grow the same holds true for teachers and administrators.

 

At ReVIEW Talent Feedback System we base our models on modern research and common sense. We work with schools and states to build systems that increase the instructional capacity of teachers.

 

So if we want our students to grow we must help our faculty grow through high quality feedback.

 

We want your help in developing our model of increasing instructional feedback. We are seeking 6-10 public or private schools in India to take part in a formative design study.

 

Formative research starts with a pedagogical goal. We ask, “How best we can we help schools grow by increasing the capacity of administrators to deliver high quality feedback to teacher?” We then work together to identify the variables that help or hurt this goal.

 

Who

We seek 6-10 schools across India to engage in this project with us. The schools can be of any size. You will have a small team or an individual willing to work with us.

 

We are international experts in school improvement through teacher evaluation. Patrick has worked with hundreds of schools across the globe. He successfully built ReVISION Learning Partnership. Greg received his PhD as a Neag Fellow at the New Literacies Research Lab at the University of Connecticut. He has experience working with Indian educators through his efforts as a Mozilla volunteer.

 

We will also be hiring a local project manager to help coordinate our efforts and be a partner you can trust throughout the project.

 

What

This project will focus on increasing the instructional capacity of teachers by coaching you or your staff to deliver high quality feedback about effective teaching.

 

This will be driven by a professional learning community built on our talent development platform, ReVIEW Talent Feedback System.

 

When

We hope to begin the project in August with remote planning meetings. We will then pilot instruments in September through October and begin classroom observations and coaching in November and December. We will wrap up the project within six months.

 

Where

We will gather remotely through video conferences for bi monthly check in meetings. All of our training materials and data will be collected in our talent development platform ReVIEW Talent Feedback System.

Why

Talent development is something you do. It can not be a plan done to you. We seek partners in India because we know their is a national focus on teacher quality. We hope to take the lessons we have learned over the past decade observing over 7500 teachers and sharing these with you.

How

We will begin by collecting baseline data about your school. We will never sell or share any of your information. You will also own all of the data you share with us and can delete it any time.

 

We will then meet over video conferences with partnering schools to develop a framework for effective teaching. We will create an open source rubric that captures quality education. Each school will be able to reuse or remix our rubrics. You can also bring your own.

 

Participants will then have the option to complete a series of online modules designed to help you improve your evaluation skills and learn to coach for growth through high quality feedback.

 

We will then meet as a group and develop the evaluation forms you need. Again these will all be open source. We will create forms such as teacher goal setting, classroom observations, mid year reflections, and end of the year reflections.

 

You will then begin to observe teachers. After you submit your report our coaches will provide tips on how to improve your high quality feedback.

 

We will continue to gather as a professional learning community and identify the factors that help our teachers grow.

 

To Learn More

 If you would like to be considered for this research opportunity please reach out to Greg at greg@reviewtalentfeedback system and he will let you know more about the application process.

The ReVIEW Team

Speak Up: Your Teachers Want the Feedback

4 min read


Speak Up global flickr photo by speakupglobal shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Mr. Daniels always wondered how his administrator, a former elementary school teacher with a background in literacy, could ever evaluate his teaching. After all, he taught AP Physics, and felt the only fair way to judge his teaching would be by another content area expert.

At ReVIEW Talent Feedback System we worked with Mr. Daniels and his administrator to realize if you turn to the experts that were in the room, the students, an evaluator can find evidence of not only great teaching but great learning.

Evaluators need to speak up.

After working with us Mr. Daniel's administrator, Dr. Akahmi, began to ask students questions. As Patrick notes, "Open you mouth and talk with students to truly discern what they are learning and how deeply they are learning it!"

Dr. Akahmi asked a student to explain to her how motion works under constant acceleration. As a former first grade teacher she did know but Mr. Daniels had explained they would need this knowledge moving forward in the lesson. The student was then able to not only write down expressions for velocity and position as functions of time but also made a few sketches. As an evaluator Dr. Akahmi new deep learning had occurred.

Evaluators should never sit in the back of the room hiding behind a laptop taking laborious notes. Instead get involved with the learning. Some critics complain that there may not be time or opportunity for this type of interaction. If this is the case, that a period goes by with no time for dialogue, then that in itself is indicative of the quality of teaching.

Also feel free to provide just in time coaching to teachers you observe. We only choose partners who see talent development as a capacity building program and not a compliance task with loads of paperwork to complete.

Some of the best schools we work with do not even use forms for formal and informal observations. They do quarterly summaries inside of ReVIEW Talent Feedback System, but time in the classroom focuses on coaching.

When they return to their office they jot down a few notes inside our App and save this information for their quarterly reviews.

How to coach your administrators to Speak Up

At ReVIEW Talent Feedback System we encourage you to train your evaluators to talk to students.

First begin with the stated or posted learning objectives. Have your team describe what it would look like for students to truly understand what it would mean to be able to explain mastery, why they are learning the material, or what success would look like if the teacher is using new content. The easiest way to do this is have students teach the evaluator.

Next have your staff examine your framework for effective teaching. Choose an indicator or attribute. Brainstorm what questions an evaluator could ask the student or the teacher that would provide evidence of effective teaching against this attribute. Finally have the team then describe example of evidence against the scales of that indictator or attribute. So, for example, what questions could you ask a student to gather information that a task required "high cognitive demand" what would those answers sound like at the developing or effective level?

Want to learn more about how to use ReVIEW Talent Feedback System in your school or about our partnerships to increase evaluator effectiveness? Reach out to Greg at greg@reviewtalentfeedback.com

In line image credit: "X is for...340/365" flickr photo by AndYaDontStop https://flickr.com/photos/thenovys/3752428880 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

The ReVIEW Team

Making the Web a Better Place

3 min read


Mad World flickr photo by Sabbian Paine shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

The web has shifted the way we live. A knowledge economy has emerged. This means we need new feature releases in our teachers. Future ready simply means everyone can read, write, and participate on the web. 

As the web matures forces begin to gather power and influence. For the web to  unleash a new wave of knowledge and opportunity across the globe we must act. Not only does open web need advocates but we must ensure that opportunities on the web do not get concentrated in a few countries. As a society we must fight for the rural villager, the urban poor, and the average citizen.

ReVIEW Talent Feedback System wishes to congratulate Greg for being selected as one of fifty people in tmost fighting for a better web across the globe. Mozilla selected Greg McVerry, co-founder of ReVIEW Talent Feedback, along with 49 other people as influencers within the Mozilla Network.

The Mozilla Networks represent the decentralized efforts of staff and thousands of volunteers advocating for a healthier internet.

Mozilla writes of Greg:

Greg McVerry is an Ed-Tech entrepreneur, teacher, and digital inclusion advocate. He works as an Associate Professor of Education at Southern Connecticut State University. He has been active in the internet health movement as a Club Captain and a technical contributor. He is a member of our first cohort of "Network50.”

Greg drives the Internet health mission forward through his contributions as a participation lead, Mozilla Club Captain, curriculum tester, and Thimble champion. As a teacher, Greg naturally thinks about how our tools and curriculum will be received by learners. His thoughtful feedback about how Thimble is used in learning contexts helped us make important decisions about the user experience, the feature set, and the curricular content. He has been an active tester of our curriculum and has made valuable contributions, helping to increase the overall quality. He has taken many of the principles mentioned above into an Ed-Tech startup he founded to create technologies that develop the instructional capacity of teachers. Finally, Greg is one of the most active network members in Github, demonstrating a strong commitment to working and learning in the open.

Having someone like Greg on our team has helped to ensure students remain the central focus of ReVIEW Talent Feedback System. Greg has organized learning events in India, helped to shape Thimble, Mozilla's online code editor and mentored dozens of leaders across the globe..

The ReVIEW Team

To Observe You Must Open Your Eyes

2 min read


Classroom flickr photo by Patrick Q shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

 

Shut the laptop. Stop Scripting. Good teacher evaluation does not revolve around capturing every word. Instead you have to use evidence to paint a picture of teacher effectiveness. The data you use require more than dialogue.

Artifact Review

A classroom has rich evidence hanging on the walls. How a teacher uses this space gives many clear indicators to learning. Granted this approach does favor elementary teachers who often have greater control of their classroom but their students often need the greatest visual support in foundational learning.

You can even in a "Classroom on Wheels" use artifacts to observe teachers.

No matter the grade level or how much control the teacher has over their space you can review products and deliverables that move the needle on student learning.

What to look For?

Wrong question. You need to ask what are the ongoing behaviors in the teacher and the student if that teacher is effective? Then you must ask how would these manifest in the artifacts around the room.

This could include a semantic feature analysis map in high school social studies, a cognate cheat sheet in Spanish II, Anchor charts in 3rd grade, and word walls in Kindergarten. You have classroom libraries, school and classroom policy posters, desk arrangements. Most importantly student work.

How to Train Your Staff

Every administrator must build the coaching capacity of your staff. We need instructional leaders not building managers trying to squeeze in every observation. 

First choose an indicator. Then have faculty brainstorm what artifact evidence they could  collect that aligns to this indicator.

Want to Learn More?

At ReVIEW Talent Feedback System we built a platform that makes artifact evidence easy to collect and anaylze. We also have partnership deals to help provide the training your faculty need. 

Email Greg at greg@reviewtalentfeedback.com to learn more.

 

The ReVIEW Team

Build Better Teachers Together

1 min read


Teamwork flickr photo by Crossroads Foundation Photos shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Foundations will fall if you do not forge partnerships. At ReVIEW Talent Feedback System we find increasing instructional capacity no different. We must work together.

Our mission of increasing the effectiveness of teachers begins by creating a culture of feedback. We believe that a focus on evaluator capacity through the training of discrete skills leads to better educators.

When administrators create the space for reflection and have training and delivering high quality feedback your school with see growth in teachers.

Tough budgetary times have brought the need to collaborate on talent development more into focus. So we curated a learning experience in partnership with Amplify's Personal Learning Maps, ReVISION Learning Partnership, and ReVISION Online Learning.

Together the four of us have come together to provide a set of packages designed to improve how your administrators observe, evaluate, and coach teachers. The different price points meets the need of any budget while providing you with rich data on the quality of your talent development protocols. 

You can learn more about the low cost yet comprehensive solutions by reviewing a detailed description here

The ReVIEW Team

Using Standards to Help Guide Coaching

4 min read

 

We find the posting of standards and objectives meaningless in most classrooms. You must look much deeper if you coach faculty and staff on the delivery of teaching aligned to standards used in school.

Students need to understand what success looks like and reflect on their growth towards grade level expectations. Teachers should open class with a brief description of where the class has been and where they are going.

Learners should articulate how the learning objectives fit in long term unit goals.

Beyond noting how teachers set the context of learning you must also observe practice. In order to coach for standards based teaching you must provide teachers with the tips they need to make the instructional shifts required in your school's standards. The lessons they deliver should reflect the rigor embedded in the standards.

In English Language Arts, for example, you need move beyond posting an objective and look for the quality of texts, the task, and the questions educators use. The you need to apply these tasks to ensure ALL students make progress to towards the targeted learning goals.

Quality of Text

Literacy involves the act of decoding and encoding meaning on the world through a growing wealth of agency and knowledge.

We ignore lexile levels. Okay, that's a little strong. At ReVIEW we just favor everyone reading texts of choice on their own and sharing in challenging texts together. In fact in the classrooms we observe lexile levels have lead to a lowering of expectations with many classrooms using digital tools to "find the correctly leveled text" which results in many students reading far below grade level. Lower grade levels equate "guided reading or reader's workshop" with "just right instructional texts."  Instead look for the qualitative elements (if teachers control the text being used) of the choice.

More importantly look for lessons that require the use of multiple texts. Even in the youngest grades high quality lessons either use or draw upon linkages to multiple texts.

Text Based Analysis

Standards based teaching in the language arts classroom requires students to pay attention to specific structures, concepts, and evidence. When observing teachers look for evidence that the tasks require students to frequently return to a text to build an answer. Make sure success on the task requires evidence from the text.

The tasks should also help students build academic vocabulary. Look for the ways teachers incorporate syntax and new words into the tasks they create. They need to support students in their word study.

Educators should also sequence their tasks to support comprehension. A scaffold should exist that requires students to dive deeper and deeper into the text and society.

Text Based Discussion

Whether you are discussing a dance, a movie, a website, or a classic novel  standards based lessons in English language arts revolve around text based discussions.

As an evaluator you should observe for discourse patterns. Is the teacher talking more than the students. How many follow up questions to educators ask? Do students challenge, critique, and build off each other?

The questions teachers ask should require students to cite evidence from the class. In classes taught by great teachers students use evidence from the text to challenge each other.

You should also look to see if the discussions require students to integrate academic vocabulary. Word study means nothing if you never apply new knowledge and syntax.

We need to ensure every student can read and discuss the text required in standards based learning.

Involving All Students

Effective teachers provide all students a chance to demonstrate their knowledge growth. Too often teachers do not turn to content when differentiation. Look for educators who know the next grade level band up and down on any given standards. Do they use the actual knowledge and skills required to meet the needs of all students or simply assign more or less work.

In a classroom with  effective teachers students show persistence in continuing to return to the text when engaging in the learning materials. 

Students will also build on the work of other's while also demonstrating independence on the task. This type of "strategy exchange" is a key look for when supporting educators and classrooms.

 

How We Can Help

Everyone needs to work together. We find Addressing the literacy needs of today's youth too  important an issue to tackle alone. As a school administrator you can observe and coach your staff on specific "look-fors" that lead to growth.

If you want to learn more about working with us to improve how your team does evaluation and coaching email review@reviewtalentfeedback.com or find us at Twitter at @ReViewTalentFS

The ReVIEW Team

5 Ways Educational Consultants Use ReVIEW Talent Feedback System

3 min read

We built ReVIEW Talent Feedback System becuase nothing else worked. No tool had the features educational consultants need.

In order to further move the needle on educational outcomes we have decided to offer a partnerhsip program to other educational consultants. 

1. To Help More Clients Grow


Growing flickr photo by motiqua shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Educationall consultants provide an important service to our communities. We help our clients grow the knowledge and skills of the people they serve. Schools, non-profits and companies benefit from our lessons in learning, leading, and staff development.

Our partners use  ReVIEW Talent Feedback System because giving  our platforms helps to recruit and retain customers. Organizations want access to the insight and  data to ensure professional development works.

You need access to the platforms and people to make it happen. A partnership with ReVIEW Talent Feedback System provides not only a toolkit but also a community of people to help us all grow.

2. Leadership Training


Deer Park Kindergarten STEM flickr photo by Pasco Schools shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

We built a tool to help leaders in any field growth through reflection and high quality feedback. You teach and lead by example. Mentoring relationships and brokering knowledge help schools grow,

Educational Consultants use ReVIEW Talent Feedback System to create flexible programs to develop leadership and instructional capacity. Our observation tools provide a framework of growth. We also provide services to improve the written feedback supervisors leave employees.

3. Delivering Comprehensive Professional Development


Teachers as Makers Academy Detroit flickr photo by ISKME shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

We built review on a foundation of John Hattie's work in feedback. We know nothing moves the needle more when it comes to learning. Faculty and staff are no different.

Our pathways to learning intersect where feedback and reflection meet. Educational Consultants can use our flexible frameworks, survey tools, form builder, and customizable groups to facilitate a long term plan for their clients.

You need a platform that allows you to provide the program evaluation and the coaching clients can grow. We built ReVIEW Talent Feedback System to be this tool.

4. Video Based Calibrations

We also offer an optional video based calibration module that is very popular with school districts. As a consultant you can be a Certified RVL Supervisory Continuum Coach by completing our online training and passing an agreement test. 

This gives you the option to use our classroom videos, which include transcripts, and evidence guides for calibration activities. 

Most schools and states include calibration in their submitted Every Student Succeed Act plan. Our partners recognize this as an opportunity not to simply focus on agreement scores but also coach evaluators on the delivery of high quality feedback. 

5. Blended Workshop Facilitation


What have you learned from young makers? flickr photo by kjarrett shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Years of research has shown blended or hybrid learning supports our learners. Yet decades of experience have taught us people are human.

We worked very hard to limit the features in our course development tools. No bells and whistles. Every online activity also works as a printable pdf. You can embed videos from our professional development library or use videos that you have legal rights to share commercially.

If you want to learn more about becoming a partner email review@reviewtalentfeedback.com or find us at Twitter at @ReViewTalentFS

The ReVIEW Team

How Do You Build The Perfect Teacher Evaluation Form?

3 min read


Files flickr photo by santinet shared under a Creative Commons (BY-ND) license

You Don't.

Evaluation requires reflection not checkboxes. Growth needs a forum not a form.

At ReVIEW Talent Feedback System we create tools to point the way rather than get in the way, and  every day we work to create a platform that leads to in-depth coaching conversations.

We don't want the schools and districts we work with fretting over forms. In fact we only choose partners who see teacher evaluation from a capacity building rather than a compliance building lens. 

Yet as a school leader, district administrator or CMO executive you want to harness the power of data at the macro level to ensure you create a culture that supports micro level growth.

Creating Systems to Support Growth

At ReVIEW Talent Feedback System we give our partners the flexibility to design a  talent development platform that best suit your needs:

Goal Setting Components

A schools plan for caching talent begins with a  shared mission and vision. We then empower teachers to develop their own learning goals that reinforce the building culture.

If accountability is important in your model you can also use our goal setting thing to create performance indexes tied to student scores.

Annual Events

Schools can also use our flexible form and even building to then add in shared annual events to your performance system. This can include annual reviews, self reflection, video artifact uploads. 

Schools can use our pre made forms or remix our templates to meet your unique needs. Capacity building isn't a cookie cutter approach.

Observations

We got too bogged down in the weighting of observations in the last ten years. Yet we also learned the  power if embedded coaching and written feedback.

At ReVIEW Talent Feedback System we encourage schools to look past state guideline and instead do what's right. You can create a framework of teaching customized for your school.

Then when coaching teachers you do not have to focus on each domain, indicator, or attribute. Use or rubric form component and connect your framework back to the goals the teacher set at the beginning of the year.

Stop Hunting for the Perfect Form

You can not have the best evaluation system. It doesn't exist. That does not mean you can't develop a better platform that will help you focus more on building the capacity of the staff rather than compliance with your protocols.

If you want to learn more about becoming a partner email greg@reviewtalentfeedback.com or find us at Twitter at @ReViewTalentFS

The ReVIEW Team

How Can Educational Consultants Use ReVIEW Talent Feedback System?

4 min read

 

Yesterday we announced our new partnership program allowing educational consultants access to our platform. We had so many inquiries we decided to to do two follow up posts. We will answer each of your emails but we thought it best to chare the information with the community.

Today we will share  the capabilities of the tool and tommorow we will describe how people just like you are already using ReVIEW Talent Feedback System to help schools grow.

 

What Can You Do with ReVIEW Talent Feedback System?

Almost anything.

We can’t wait until you push the boundaries of our capabilities in your quest to improve schools. At ReVIEW Talent Feedback System we tried to think of the most common use cases we, as a community, had.

We decided to share ReVIEW Talent Feedback system with the community because we know you wear so many hats. Developer should’t be one.

Focus on schools. Let us focus on the code

Observations

As educational consultants we rely on our observational skills. We may sit on a class, walk the halls, or  interview stakeholders. Often times you may want use (if permissions allow) the framework for effective teaching used in that school. In other instances a customized rubric will best serve a projects needs.

We built REVIEW Talent Feedback System using a rubric creation tool as the backbone. You can add any framework you legally have the rights to use. ReVIEW also allows you to create customized rubrics.

Most importantly we added a second layer of feedback on top. You can use a facilitator rubric to give feedback to scoring done by other participants. This has so many unique applications in coaching.

Video Based Library

You want to base your trainings on real classroom teaching. Yet getting in the classroom is no always easy. We must consider the frequency of adults entering our classrooms.

ReVIEW Talent Feedback System comes pre-loaded with videos . We have transcripts to help with accessibility and learning materials plus evidence guides that describe key moments in learning.

Course Development Tools

So many platforms exist to create online classes, but how many were built with the educational consultant in mind. We need to drive growth through reflective practice. 

We provide a very stripped down teaching environment. No bells and whistles that do little to improve learning and everything to eat up your time. Instead we focused on simple navigation for the learner and easy to use building tools. Give learners the content and the space to reflect. The only features you need.

Multiple Feedback Layers

Much of our work involves training leaders to coach for growth. This begins by examining how administrators deliver feedback to their staff. You may also have clients that need to score observations or artifacts like writing.

ReVIEW Talent Feedback System also comes preloaded with ReVISION Learning Partnership's Supervisory Continuum. This framework evaluates written feedback on six different dimensions.

Survey Tools

We need very specific types of data when working in the educational space. Teachers and leaders set goals with action steps. Pictures can be studies as artifacts. Likert scales are used often.

We built ReVIEW Talent Feedback System in oder to have easiest to use survey tools. They also had to collect and analyze the data we need. All responded are ready to download for statistical analysis.

Instant Infographics

At the end of any contract we have to develop reports for districts. Preparing the data and running analysis eats up precious time.

ReVIEW Talent Feedback System allows you to take any survey question and immediatley add it to a report in a visual pleasing way. Download the documents and insert the images in your final reports

Sharing our Tool with You

Over the past few months many of you have approached Patrick and I and asked about how we built ReVIEW Talent Feedback System. Everyone kept commenting that our platform was everything they needed.

So we decided to create a partnership program that allows everyone to deliver great service at a price clients will love. 

If you want to learn more about becoming a partner email greg@reviewtalentfeedback.com or find us at Twitter at @ReViewTalentFS