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Impacts of a Detailed Checklist on Formative Feedback to Teachers


Description: This is a randomized controlled trial evaluation to estimate the impact of providing New Mexico principals and teachers with a detailed checklist and video to guide principals' feedback conversations with teachers after formal observations of classroom instruction. The evaluation will examine the effectiveness of the checklist/video relative to the minimal guidance offered currently about effective feedback. The impact study is designed as a low-cost informational intervention that if effective, could be feasibly replicated by New Mexico state and district policymakers and by other state education agencies.

Research Questions:

  1. Does provision of the feedback checklist and video relative to the business-as-usual guidance improve the content, structure, and perceived utility of the post-observation conference?
  2. Does provision of the feedback checklist and video relative to the business-as-usual guidance have an impact on the subsequent professional development taken by teachers, classroom observation scores, and student achievement?
  3. How extensively do principals and teachers in the treatment and control groups report using the checklist and/or business-as-usual guidance, and what are their perceptions of the form(s) of guidance they use?

Study Design: All principals in New Mexico public schools will be invited to participate in the research study starting in Spring 2015. Half of consenting principals will be randomly assigned to the treatment group; the other half to the control group. Treatment group principals will receive a detailed feedback checklist and a link to an accompanying video. Control group principals will receive a summary of recommended feedback practices from prior state-sponsored principal professional development. Up to 10 teachers in each school with a participating principal will also be invited to join the study. Those teachers who consent will be assigned to the same treatment or control group as their principal. Treatment group teachers will receive the same detailed checklist and video link; control group teachers will receive state guidance about the classroom observation rating process. Data for the study will come from Spring 2015 baseline surveys of principals and teachers, Spring 2016 follow-up surveys, and administrative data about student achievement, teachers' classroom observation scores, and student, teacher, and principal demographic characteristics.

Projected Release Date: Winter 2017

Keywords: Professional Development, Educator Performance Evaluation, Teacher Evaluation, School Leaders, Teachers, Teaching Practices, New Mexico, Randomized Controlled Trial, Surveys

Study Related Products: Making an Impact report, Stated Briefly report

Principal Investigators & Affiliation:
Kata Mihaly, RAND