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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Use of Classroom Walk-Through Observations as a Strategy to Improve Teaching and Learning: A Student Centered Perspective
by Sorensen, Thomas R., Jr., Ed.D., Lindenwood University, 2010, 138; 3450041
Abstract (Summary)

Due to the increasing pressure of meeting the demands of No Child Left Behind, and reducing the achievement gap between subgroups of school populations, school administrators across the nation have implemented a variety of short classroom walk-through observations. A walk-through is defined as a 3-5 minute observation of the classroom teacher by the building principal resulting in a collection of data pertaining to classroom instruction. The ABC school district, the focus of this study, implemented classroom walk-throughs in an effort to improve teaching and learning and ultimately improve student achievement. My co-researchers and I analyzed the relationship between walk-through observations conducted in the ABC school district and subsequent performance on standardized Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) scores in the areas of Communication Arts and Mathematics. We also examined the possible effect of the walk-throughs on the dependent variables of summer school enrollment, number of students retained, and school climate as measured by the numbers of reported discipline referrals.

Data were collected from 1,052 walk-through observations conducted at three middle schools in the ABC school district over a span of three years. Correlations were calculated on walk-through data to determine a possible relationship between the performance of walk-through observations and changes in the dependent variables. The findings showed a decrease in discipline referrals, summer school placement, and retention, and an increase in student achievement in regards to Communication Art MAP test scores and Mathematics MAP test scores. It cannot be concluded that the classroom walk-through observations are the reason for the increase in student achievement, however a correlation exists between the variables.

It was important for the researchers to go beyond the data to effectively illustrate the potential importance of using walk-throughs to improve teaching. The analysis of the walk-through process was addressed from the perspective of students regarding the qualities of an effective teacher. Students are the main benefactors of the effort to improve teaching; however, they are often given little voice in determining what should be done to improve education. This study went beyond the data and incorporated the students’ voice into the school improvement process.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Bice, Cynthia
Commitee: Coffey, Monica, Oldani, John
School: Lindenwood University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Missouri
Source: DAI-A 72/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational evaluation, Teacher education
Keywords: Classroom observation, Missouri Assessment Program, No Child Left Behind
Publication Number: 3450041
ISBN: 978-1-124-58215-3
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