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DCPS Partnership Featured in Educational Policy

The Change We Cannot See: Instructional Quality and Classroom Observation in the Era of Common Core

Lessons from DC Public Schools

The adoption of “College and Career Ready” standards—including Common Core State Standards—aims to raise academic expectations for students nationwide. Meeting these outcomes requires shifts in teaching, which, in turn, requires developing measures for the observation, assessment, and support of new kinds of instruction.

This essay by Julie Cohen, Ethan Hutt, Rebekah Berlin, and Emily Wiseman focuses on efforts to develop such measures in a research project conducted in the District of Columbia Public Schools, which raised fundamental questions about whether existing measures can meet this challenge. By emphasizing observable elements of individual lessons, current measures produce a restricted view of instructional quality, omitting crucial elements of instruction called forth by new standards. Having identified this disconnect, the authors offer suggestions for developing multi-measure systems to capture a fuller picture of standards aligned teaching.

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