Supporting School Administrators With Math Observations and Feedback
This study examined the perspectives of school administrators regarding how the use of a focused math observation tool influenced their practice and their teachers’ practice. The sample comprised six elementary school administrators across four elementary schools in a large, urban public school district. The research design applied qualitative methods in order to understand what the administrators valued about the tool and what they said they needed from a tool to support their practice of observation and feedback in mathematics. Patterns and themes regarding what the administrators valued about the tool and what they needed in a tool to support math observations and feedback were identified. The findings from the interviews with administrators affirmed that a focused math observation tool can support focused feedback for math instruction. The two main ways administrators reported that the tool supported focused feedback for math instruction included (a) the tool served to support shared expectations and (b) the tool’s focus on only two or three elements made it comprehensible. In addition, administrators indicated that the support they needed to use the tool was collaboration across the process with other observers, specifically side-by-side support with the district math coordinator and opportunities to collaborate with school leaders around observation and feedback. The findings suggest a focused math observation tool with support could be helpful to school administrators.