Classroom Walk-through (CWT) Observations
What is it? An observation technique that allows the observer to record “snapshot” information on the effective elements of a classroom including instructional strategies, standards-based objectives, aligned instructional materials, level of cognitive interaction, classroom displays and resources, student engagement, and more.
Why are we doing it? Classroom Walk-through (CWT) provides a powerful tool for instructional leaders to gather information for the purposes of coaching, program planning, and professional development. It is thoroughly research based, and it’s effectiveness has been well documented. CGCSC has implemented CWT to improve instruction, increase student performance, identify professional development needs, and to provide data for instructional decision making from the classroom level to the district level.
What are they looking for in an observation? Even though the observation covers multiple components, it is primarily focused on five components:
- The Learning Environment- Is the objective/expectation appropriate and aligned with state standards/district curriculum? Is the objective/expectation communicated to the student in “student-friendly” language verbally or visually? Is the teacher teaching to the objective/expectation? Is the room safe and orderly? Is there a behavior plan posted? Is there evidence that differentiated learning is taking place? Does the teacher appear to have knowledge of their content? Is there technology being used by the teacher or students during the learning process? What does the classroom look like? Are there displays, word walls, etc. that support the learning activities? Are there displays of student work? Are there resources, technology, classroom libraries, etc.?
- Taxonomy- At what level of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Knowledge are students working? Is the level(s) appropriate to the learning objective(s)? Is there a balance of high and low order questions/cognitive tasks? Are students being encouraged to use higher levels of Bloom’s in their own work or discussions?
- Instructional Strategies - What high-yield strategies from the CWT form is the teacher using in the lesson?
- Learner Engagement - What are the students doing? Are they conscious of the learning objective/expectation? Are they actively engaged or passively compliant? Has the teacher created a lesson that has clear meaning and immediate value to the students? Has the teacher provided choice?
- Literacy - Is the teacher using modeled or guided format to literacy? Are students doing independent writing or reading? Are formative or summative assessments being using to monitor progress?
Is it evaluative? Classroom Walk-through is a formative observation process. It is intended to give the teacher feedback and or suggestions of things to think about or reflect on in the delivery or planning of instruction. Your administrator may ask you a responsive type question to engage you in conversation regarding Best Practices.
Will I be provided feedback after a CWT observation? Yes, teachers will receive feedback in the form of an email with a copy of the CWT report. Make sure to read it thoroughly and respond to any questions asked by your administrator.
What research supports Classroom Walk-through? The research-base and history of CWT is extensive and can be divided into two areas:
- Content: CWT is focused on the research of effective classrooms, effective instruction, and learning. The primary focus is around Marzano’s “high-yield” instructional strategies, Bloom’s “Knowledge Taxonomy,” Lezotte’s principles of learning, and more.
- Process: The CWT process is also research-based, extending from the “Manage By Walking Around (MBWA)” approach. The process also has deep roots in Goldhammer’s clinical coaching model, data collection/analysis techniques, and research into instructional leadership. On a spectrum of observation/coaching processes, CWT lies between summative/evaluative processes and informal observation/coaching. While formative, it provides focus to the observation, as well as a means to collect data on research-based practices and strategies for a summative assessment.
How can I learn more about Classroom Walk-through? Many schools have begun local professional development around the “high-yield” strategies of Robert Marzano’s research (Classroom Instruction that Works) and the “Quadrant D” lesson approach of Bill Daggett’s work. There are many, many resources on the web that support you in the CWT process.
Why does the CWT form look different than in years past? In years past there have been various forms of walk-through's for elementary and secondary teachers. Teacher Evaluation Sub-committee B spent an enormous amount of time aligning all the past models into one form that supports all teachers on the Teacher Evaluation Rubric. Much discussion was also given to adding the literacy piece. It is hoped that through discussions with colleagues and administrators, all teachers will see how vital this piece is, especially with the arrival of new Indiana initiatives and standards where ALL teachers will have to incorporate literacy into their curriculum.
What program is being used for this process? Currently, CG is using the Standard for Success online program to implement the evaluation process. It is a web-based program that has proven to be transparent for teachers, easily implemented by administrators, and houses a great deal of data for Education Services personnel.
Below are links to pages of resources for each of the five primary components of the Classroom Walk-through process. Click on each to explore more.
The amount of observations will vary from teacher to teacher based on their final ranking from the previous year and other personal circumstances. Check the following chart for each amount of observations: