Monday, October 26, 2009

Teaching quality: Carroll County eWalks

Carroll County is using the eWalk method to take a systematic look at teaching practices across the district. Administrators are touring classrooms with notebook computers, noting what they see in a ten-minute observation, and collating results to get a system-wide picture.

Last week, the Madison Courier reported on findings discussed at the Carroll County board meeting:
Administrators also evaluated the time used in the classrooms. They found 62 percent of classrooms surveyed were paced well and 71 percent of the classrooms had students engaged in the materials. To help gauge this information, administrators also talk to students from the classes to ask how the material is taught, the pace of information and if the work is challenging enough.

"We're not going to see everything in 10 minutes," [
Assistant Superintendent Bill] Hogan said.

Evaluators found that 77 percent of the information taught was in the acquisition area, which reflects low-level learning, while 22 percent was application, 6 percent was assimilation and 1 percent was adaptation learning.

Hogan said the lower level learning will be primarily seen in the beginning of the school year as students are just learning about new subjects. Adaptation learning might also take more time, which might not be allowed due to class scheduling, he said.

"Over time, you can get a picture of the school," said Pam Williams, elementary instructional supervisor.

Students are also learning more on the recall reproduction level versus the basic application of information. Strategic thinking levels are just at 3 percent of the classes surveyed and 1 percent use extended learning. James said the schools are to focus more on critical thinking, so depth of knowledge is crucial to look at.

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