Comparing the leading classroom observation tools

Teacher Compass (Pearson)

Platform: Web-based, with support for mobile devices both online and offline.
How it works: Part of Pearson’s Compass suite of software, Teacher Compass contains a flexible rubric builder that enables districts to use any framework for which they have rights. The software enables traditional, self, and peer observations; walkthroughs, instructional rounds, formative observations, and summative evaluations; and differentiated professional development. School leaders can use a variety of rating scales, checklists, open responses, and artifacts (videos, documents, and images).
Sharing: Teachers and administrators have the ability to upload and rate artifacts such as lesson plans, student work, and classroom videos, and administrators can make automatic recommendations of relevant professional development. In addition, teachers can provide their own response to a given observation prior to submission.
Customization: Able to be customized based on school or district needs.
Cost: Site and individual pricing is available; contact the company for details.

Teachscape Reflect

Platform: Web-based service, available on handheld wireless devices (iPhone, iPod Touch, BlackBerry, Android), tablets (iPad), and laptops. Apps can be used to collect data even when there is no internet connectivity.
How it works: Teachscape Reflect is a complete teacher observation and evaluation system. Users can observe and assess the quality of instruction through informal walkthroughs, formal teacher observations, and evaluations. Standard look-fors incorporate the research of Robert Marzano (High Yield Strategies), Benjamin Bloom (Bloom’s Taxonomy), Phillip Schlechty (student engagement), Charlotte Danielson (Framework for Teaching), and Carol Ann Tomlinson (differentiating instruction). The system allows districts to integrate multiple measures of teaching, including student growth data; student, parent, and peer surveys; teacher self-assessments; and lesson plans and other artifacts. Longitudinal reports combine data from multiple observations to provide a view of teaching practices over time.
Sharing: Users can eMail results to the teacher and any administrator; plan and schedule observations and post-observation conferences; and invite the teacher to include artifacts, lesson plans, and self-assessments. What’s more, learning coaches can use video to augment their lesson analysis—and teachers can view their own teaching, along with observer and coach feedback, online.
Customization: Districts can configure evaluation processes and workflows according to their own processes; add and edit rubrics and surveys for walkthroughs and observations; and set their own formulas and weighting rules to calculate summative evaluation scores.
Cost: Priced per user; contact the company for details.

eSchool News Staff

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