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Does any one have a good lesson observation form suitable for the new 2012 inspection framework?
The guidance provide best fit criteria and tell you not to break them down into a checklist. I am keen that we can be seen to be observing lessons accurately using the criteria, but I am struggling to provide the guidance to systematically collect evidence to support a judgement.
If you are in the same position, then can you say how you are doing lesson observations and how you gather evidence for how good the teaching is in your school.
This is one of the first questions that inspectors ask when they come in, so it is important that the system we use matches the criteria that inspectors will use.
So what sort of proforma could be used to help observers who don't have Ofsted training?
I think you are wise not to go down the route of using the evaluation schedule criteria on a grid to carry out individual lesson observations. To my knowledge, Ofsted does not provide inspectors with anything as simplistic as "from January 2012, tick these boxes and the lesson is good". Inspectors are still required to use their own judgement, based on experience. These two checklists are taken from some older Ofsted guidance. They set out what to look out for and leave it to the observer to decide the extent to which the different qualities of teaching and learning have been seen. When there were seven grades, this was quite tricky. Now there are only four, a combination of teaching experience and common-sense will get you pretty close! Just remember, there is quite a wide spectrum of possibility within each grade!
Once you have lesson observation data, you can add this to the analysis of results, work scrutiny etc and use the evaluation schedule to make an overall judgement about the quality of teaching. A checklist version of the schedule can be found here.
Our school currently uses a fairly simple data capture form where we write to the headings Teaching and Learning. Then at the end of the lesson we look at the Ofsted criteria for teaching and estimate which of the four grades fit the information collected.
This is probably OK for monitoring the teaching but I think it could be improved to make it closer to something Ofsted would use, or expect us to be using.
I have seen some forms that other schools are using and some of these don't particularly link with the new Ofsted grade descriptors. I am not sure at the moment if this matters or not. One covers learning, enjoyment, attitudes, assessment, pogress and provision. This is just a tick list so it isn't easy to work out which grade would be given. The other one I have seen lists the sort of things you would see in a lesson and then on a grid describes how each of these things would be graded. The list covers teaching, engagement, monitoring, use of resources, AFL. differentiation etc.
I am surprised that Oftsed haven't produced something for schools to use if they are expecting schools to monitor teaching like they do. The examples given in the last post mostly look the same as the Ofsted grade criteria and there seems too much there for a data capture form. I would really like to see something on one sheet.
In my new role I am responsible for data and evaluation and producing a lesson observation form that fits the new inspection criteria is one of the things I am tasked with.
A question I have is should lesson observation just look at teaching and learning (and behaviour if it is an issue) or should it also try to write about achievement and leadership? When writing about learning we would also write about attainment and progress but I am not that sure how we would write about achievement. This is probably because I understand attainment but I am now yet sure how you calculate achievement.
I hope this doesn't make me sound too confused. What has surprised me is that few people I have asked seem to have the definitive answer to how schools should be watching lessons. A colleague went on a course to explain the new inspection framework but didn't get any real answers about how inspectors use the criteria to observe lessons. The Ofsted form is mostly blank and it is hard to see what they would write down. I am sure there is more to it than just watching a lesson and saying I think that is good, or satisfactory or whatever. What happens if a teacher doesn't agree if you aren't recording the right information?
Are any schools willing to describe how they are observing lessons? I would really welcome help with this.
You have put into words exactly my thoughts on this subject. I have struggled with this same problem and you have explained exactly what the problem is.
We used to have a pretty good prompt sheet for observing teachers but since the new criteria came out we have struggled to try to adapt it. I dont see why the criteria should have changed. The evidence for good teaching and learning must surely have stayed the same.
I agree that Ofsted should have produced something for schools to use. It is almost as if they designed the new criteria to make them impossible to use by schools. I also want to know what inspectors are looking for when they see lessons. The new grade descriptions are just summaries of a lot of information that would need to be collected but is not mentioned anywhere.JA
JSearl's advice is spot on. If you use a form with things to look out for and tick, then you will miss so much in a lesson.
To answer your question lipservice, Ofsted do not use any kind of form. They loosely follow the headings in the evaluation schedule but make open text comments on an evidence form on strengths and weaknesses. Most inspectors are now making it clear why the lesson was not graded the grade above; making a comment such as 'not outstanding because ...x y z'. This is because the opening bullet of the report now has to state why the school is not graded the grade above. Also, Ofsted do not expect you to use any kind of proforma, but would expect you to use a variety of monitoring and evaluation activities to judge the quality of your teaching, not just formal lesson observations. For example, schools that just use formal, pre-warned lesson observations as a method of judging the quality of teaching are likely to get a more positive view of teaching than the achievement data would suggest.
Lipservice, if you are responsible for M&E of teaching, it may be a good idea to get a good consultant in who does Ofsted inspections to do some joint lesson observations for a couple of days alongside senior staff. This will give you a very good idea of how Ofsted observe lessons, what inspectors write on EFs and how objective they are if, as you say teachers disagree with judgements
Thanks Robby. You obviously do inspections so you must have internalised the criteria that you use. I only decided to write a reply to this because I was logged in already and because I felt rather taken aback when you advised the previous person to get a consultant in. Inspection shouldn't be a mystery that you have to pay a consultant to explain to you.
In our school we have very good systems for observing lessons, for tracking students and and for using data. A couple of year ago we got a good Ofsted report, I believe because of the strength of our systems and because Ofsted were prepared to understand and make use of our data. On lessons observations they accepted our overall summaries of teaching in the school once they had seen how good our observation system was.
The problem we have is that the new 2012 criteria doesn't refer to learning anymore. Why not? Isn't this what schools are for? We had a system based on recording evidence of teaching and the effect it had on the quality of learning. Now there are paragraphs about teaching and achievement which are really hard to apply to lessons. At the moment we are sticking to the sheets that we have.
You say that if you have a form you will miss so much in a lesson. I am not sure that this is helpful to SLT members who aren't Ofsted trained. I also think the point that was raised here is really important. If you have a teacher on the good/satisfactory border how will an inspector make a judgement if they don't have any criteria that refers to good and satisfactory teaching and good and satisfactory learning, and what if the teacher disagrees? They deserve to have an explanation that can be discussed.
juliamacThanks Robby. You obviously do inspections
At no stage have I ever said this; and never in my postings.
juliamacI felt rather taken aback when you advised the previous person to get a consultant in. Inspection shouldn't be a mystery that you have to pay a consultant to explain to you.
What on earth is wrong with that? Hundreds of schools do it and many more do now that SIPs have been withdrawn and did a bit of that external monitoring. My view is that some kind of external monitoring can be very beneficial as somebody who takes an independent, objective view of teaching. That external person or group of people can be from another school, ASTs, senior staff from another school or consultants. It goes on all the time. What's so shocking about that?
People have raised some important issues in this thread. There are problems with using the new 2012 Inspection criteria because they are in the form of summative statements. You can only really use them once you have collected information as a result of observing a lesson. Yet there is no guidance given on observing a lesson.
Anyone who suggests that there isn't a problem with this needs to explain exactly how they would go about it, what prompts would they use, what criteria would they have in mind, what checklist of things to look out for. If they can't explain this simply then I wouldn't trust them to observe a lesson on the basis that they cannot explain what they are doing - and probably couldn't explain how they reached a judgment either.
I have just been reading another thread where teachers are complaining at SLT watching a lesson, declaring it satisfactory and then refusing to explain how they used their evidence to arrive at a judgement. If they can't do this then the observation is worthless and probably damaging.
Ideally, no SLT member should be observing lessons without having had the appropriate training and being able to demonstrate that they are familiar with the Ofsted grade criteria and can talk about the differences between say a good and a satisfactory judgement.
But given that all schools must observe teaching there should at least be a proper framework that shows how to apply the criteria to the evidence collected. The government haven't produced one so it is again left to teachers to try to cobble one together. The message in the framework that you shouldn't try to break the grade criteria into separate elements makes it even more difficult to know where to start.
albanaichSimples. There's a good film on the subject about turning a sink school into outstanding one. Watch and study. Look at the focus on the simple stuff first.
Hi, Do you have a copy of yours that I could see?
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