The Delaware Teacher Classroom Observation Framework is a tool for coaching and development. Administrators and teachers use this framework to align expectations for what high-quality teaching and learning looks like. The observer uses the framework to guide the collection of evidence from classroom observations to assess the quality of teaching — both strengths and areas for growth.
The observation framework is structured into three Performance Areas that describe the major elements of a successful classroom. Each Performance Area is accompanied by an Essential Question. They are:
- Learning Environment: To what extent does the classroom environment support all students to learn?
- Engagement in Learning: To what extent does the instruction support and engage all students?
- Maximizing Learning: To what extent do all students retain and apply their learning with productive struggle?
Each Essential Question guides the observer to focus on three Indicators which describe the Performance Area at four levels of performance. Each Indicator is defined by several Descriptors. The Descriptors articulate the teacher and student behaviors that an observer would see in the classroom, during instruction, at each of four different performance levels. The observer collects evidence based on the Descriptors of those Indicators to identify feedback to support teacher growth and development and to support assessment of the instruction.
There are many things teachers do outside of the lesson that contribute to high-quality teaching and learning. To recognize this important work, each Performance Area includes Core Teacher Skills. Core Teacher Skills are not evaluated, but instead serve to name much of the work teachers do to achieve the levels of performance noted in the Indicators, and to provide a common language and set of expectations to support teacher growth and development.
In the Delaware Educator Growth and Support System, the observer will use the observation framework to observe each teacher several times over the course of the school year, and to collect evidence at each observation. The observer will share feedback after each observation to support teacher growth and will only assign performance ratings at the end of the school year, using the evidence collected over the course of the entire year.
Core Teacher Skills articulate the many factors that go into the action of planning so that high-quality teaching and learning can happen in the classroom. For example, the act of teacher planning and preparation is not specifically addressed in the Indicators but is observed in the quality of the classroom lesson and outcomes assessed in the framework. This does not mean that planning is not important or expected; on the contrary, planning is critical to success in Delaware classrooms. What this observation framework structure affirms is that what matters most for students is the actual instruction they experience in the classroom, and so instruction is what is ultimately assessed in the Delaware Educator Growth and Support System.
This observation framework is a draft that will be piloted during the 2021-2022 school year. The final observation framework for use across Delaware beginning in the 2022-2023 school year will be available in the spring of 2022. This framework may not be used, modified or adapted for us without explicit permission from the Delaware Department of Education.