Professional Development | News

Teachscape, ETS Launch Teacher Observation Training System

Teachscape and Educational Testing Service (ETS) have partnered to create the Framework for Teaching Proficiency System, an online service for training and testing teacher observers.

As part of the project, which stemmed from the companies' work on the Measure of Effective Teaching Project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Teachscape recorded 20,000 lessons in 3,000 classrooms. Teachscape, ETS, and the Danielson Group then developed systems, tools, and a methodology for scoring those lessons.

The system includes three components. Observer training includes 11 online professional development modules designed to teach observers about the research and rationale behind the framework, how to effectively conduct observations, and how to minimize bias, among other things.

Scoring practice uses master-scored videos to allow observers-in-training to compare their scores with those assigned by an expert. Evidence found by the expert and the reasoning behind the scores is also available.

The proficiency test is designed to challenge observers to demonstrate their skills and provide "districts with increased confidence that observers will be able to assess teaching performance with accuracy and consistency," according to information on Teachscape's website.

"The MET-based Proficiency System has now been implemented successfully with hundreds of observers from the MET study," said Teachscape Founder and Chief Strategist Mark Atkinson. "In the MET project, we were able to develop a first generation proficiency test of this kind. Now, the Framework for Teaching Proficiency System is available to help all districts improve the accuracy, reliability and validity of the teacher observation process."

More information about the Framework for Teaching Proficiency System is available at

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].