This study tour examined the use of student voice in the continuous improvement of teaching and learning. While many schools, districts, and states include academic performance measures and periodic peer/principal observation as data used to improve upon teaching practices, few take into account the observations of the students themselves. Not all policymakers and practitioners are convinced that student voice is reliable, consistent, and impactful, or they are unaware of how to effectively incorporate student voice. Yet, spending hundreds of hours as they do in classrooms, students are keen observers of this environment, and can provide valid and reliable feedback about classroom life and teaching practices.
The tour also provided participants an opportunity to learn about the use of high quality student surveys that have been developed by the Colorado Education Initiative and by Denver Public Schools. Participants examined efforts to implement the use of student feedback as a way to enhance evaluation systems and professional learning for educators. Emphasis was placed on recognizing that students can be good observers, that there is variation in teaching quality, and that the purpose of these surveys needs to be professional growth of all educators. Participants heard from district-level staff about the implementation of surveys, how teacher buy-in was attained, and attendant challenges and successes. They engaged with teachers, principals, and students from a variety of districts, as they discussed the use of surveys at the school level – how students are engaged in providing feedback and how teachers and principals are incorporating that information into their learning and growth. Participants also learned about the role of higher education in this endeavor and talked about policy implications of integrating student surveys into teacher evaluations and the weight which surveys have been given in teacher evaluations.
- Study Tour Agenda
- Colorado’s Education Improvement Efforts “101” (PDF)
Colorado has a comprehensive education improvement agenda which over the past few years has been encoded into state law. This fact sheet provides an overview, implementation progress and next steps for Colorado’s Achievement Plan for Kids (Senate Bill 08-212), the Education Accountability Act (Senate Bill 09-163) and the Great Teachers and Leaders Act (Senate Bill 10-191)
- What is Senate Bill 10-191? (PDF)
This fact sheet provides a high level overview of the bill that was passed in 2010 with the idea that every child in every community deserves excellent classroom teachers and building leaders who are supported in their professional growth. This provides great foundational information on educator effectiveness and Senate Bill 10-191.
- What is the Colorado State Model Evaluation System? (PDF)
Senate Bill 10-191 is improving the way Colorado principals and teachers are evaluated and supported in their professional growth. To support school districts in the implementing the new law, CDE is developing a model evaluation system that districts may choose to use for their teacher and/or principal evaluations. This fact sheet provides an overview on the model system and the Quality Standards that educators will be evaluated on.
- Overview of the Colorado State Model Performance Management System (PDF)
To support a fair and consistent educator evaluation system, CDE is developing tools to help evaluators provide useful and actionable feedback to educators. CDE is working in partnership with RANDA Solutions, Inc. (RANDA) to create an online performance management system to support districts in the implementation of the Colorado State Model Evaluation System. RANDA will power the Colorado State Model Performance Management System and is entirely optional for districts. Each district has the autonomy to select a vendor or design a performance management system locally that best meets their needs
- Overview of Elevate Colorado, the Online Inter-rater Agreement Training System (PDF)
To support a fair and consistent educator evaluation system, the Colorado Department of Education is developing tools to promote common interpretations of teacher quality and help evaluators provide useful and actionable feedback to educators. One such tool is Elevate Colorado, an online inter-rater agreement training system that is being developed in partnership with My Learning Plan.
- Teacher Quality Standards Reference Guide (PDF)
This reference guide on the Teacher Quality Standards is helpful for reflection and ongoing conversation on the aspects of great teaching.
- Leading from the Front of the Classroom: A Roadmap for Teacher Leadership that Works Practical guidance for designing effective teacher leadership opportunities. Denver Public Schools are featured.
- Principal Quality Standards (PDF)
This reference guide on the Principal/Assistant Principal Quality Standards is helpful for reflection and ongoing conversation on the aspects of school leadership.
- LEAP (Leading Effective Academic Practice), Denver’s teacher growth and performance system website
- The Standards Toolkit Website that contains supportive documents related to each of the LEAP measures
- Denver Plan 2020
- Project Voyce
Post-Study Tour Discussion Group Resources