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Observation and Interviews: Roles in the Classroom

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Leslie Erb

on 14 October 2014

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Transcript of Observation and Interviews: Roles in the Classroom

A direct means for learning about students, including what they do or do not know and can or cannot do.
a natural process of getting to know students by listening to them and observing their behaviors.
Observation is..
Forming your checklist:
- Focus on the task you want to be demonstrated and mastered by your students.
-Remember task must be observable and measurable

Steps to making your checklist:
1. Identify the key dimensions of the overall skill.
2. Refine the percise behaviors that relate to the key dimension of the students grade level.
3. Identify common errors that relate to the skill.
Instances Interviews
Student provided with specific set of examples and counterexamples
Asked to identify which cases are examples of the concept
Then they are asked to explain their decision

Prediction Interviews
Require students to anticipate an outcome
Explain or justify that prediction
Identifying observable behaviors
Observation and Interview
Unique Information

Rating Scales
It is a tool used to observe a students skills and behaviors in addition to anecdotal records and checklist. It is a form of a checklist with the addition of descriptive words, numbers, or a combination of both.
Systemic Approaches to Classroom observation

create a form for recording
Define behavior
Making Anecdotal record valid and reliable

Anecdotal Notes or Records

Least formal type of observation
means to document observation of significant skills, events or
Are a quick, open ended way to record observations describing what happened in teacher’s own words.
Intend to record factual descriptions of meaningful incidents that the teacher has personally observed

Interview: What is it?
A well developed question or set of questions that a teachers asks a student.
The teacher listens to the questions and records the child's response, along with asking additional questions.
This allows the student to show his/her understanding.
Some Questions to Ask When Prepping an Interview
Types of Interviews

Teacher asks questions that occur naturally
There is no plan
Conversation evolves based on the student's response
Pros and Cons
One interview can take a LONG time...
They should be used in addition to, not instead of, other forms of evaluation.
If you do not plan ahead efficiently, the usefulness of the interview will be at risk.
Most valid assessment!
Helpful to students who do not like to talk in front of other people and ELL/ESL students
They are not being assessed on their grammar and spelling. The teacher cares about their IDEAS
Provides easy to use feedback to the teacher
You get a REAL sense of what a child is thinking
Allows in-depth and "digging deeper" questions
Because interviews are written in first person style, they help prevent a simple copy and paste of information.
Serves as a teaching vehicle
What does the student know?
Can I move on with my teaching?
What does this student specifically need help with?

Questions are prepared by the teacher in advanced
Some Tips
Easily understood questions
Stick with the classroom vocabulary
Let students know that they can ak for clarification of a question
Use open-ended questions
How much prep time do I need?
How prepared are my students for this interview?
How much time do I have to give this interview?
Individual or group interview?
How am I analyzing this information?
During the Interview
Begin ALL INTERVIEWS the same way
Give the students enough time to think. Silence IS OKAY
No need to rush
Teach it seriously, but not too seriously.
Avoid distractions
Pick content appropriately
After the Interview
Review Notes as soon as possible
Add to your notes as needed
Types of Learners
Interpersonal (social)
Intrapersonal (keeps to self)



Observation can take place in a natural setting.

Observations allows us to assess our students as we are teaching.
We can monitor progress and behavioral skills as part of the normal teaching
Allows you to discover skills and detect problems that would be difficult to uncover in any.

Observational methods can give us clues that permits us to adapt other assessments to students needs.

Observations can add a missing dimension to our assessment of students.

Information that you gain from observation can be used together with other, more formal, assessment methods, such as paper-and-pencil testing.
Knowing what to look for is the key to a sound observation.
Are you observing a desirable behavior that you want to increase or an undesirable behavior.
Academic skills, psychomotor skills and prosocial are behaviors we look to increase or improve.
Historically, the use of the structured interview as a means of investigating the process of learning began with Jean Piaget's "method clinique"

With interviews, children are able to dramatize, order, arrange, prioritize, combine, and plan. These words can be found in the higher-order area Bloom's Taxonomy.
Observation tools are instruments and techniques that can help teacher focus and record useful data.

Anecdotal notes
observation checklist
student checklist for self-assessment
rating scales
interview guides
Impromptu Anecdotal Records

often used spontaneously for unusual classroom behavior
exceptionally good or exceptionally troubling instances
can be used when writing a report card comments or in parent teacher conferences.
intervention for acceleration or specific subject tutoring

Planned Anecdotal Records:

planned and systematic way that focuses on specific skills that are part of a larger task like problem solving or taking test
number of behaviors to be observed are limited

Making observation Reliable and Valid

1. What is it that you are trying to observe

What behaviors will I look for?
What is an appropriate number of behaviors to observe that will tell me what I need to know about the student without overwhelming me?
What activity or context will give the students the best opportunity to show me those behaviors?

Have developed definitions and and a formatted checklist
Practice observing several time to make sure your definitions hold up and your checklist is easy to use.

Focus carefully and avoid distractions

when reviewing data after observation be sure that you have completed everything in your checklist
can clearly interpret what you wrote at a later time.

Observation: Disadvantages
Subjectivity/ Bias
Time Factors
Students Reaction
Observing the Right Behaviors
Observation Checklist
*is a clear list of behaviors used to assess a students skills. Checklist are flexible, easy to read, and allows the teacher to observe skills in a simple and fast way by making simple markings.
Descriptive Rating scale
Numerical Rating Scale
Why should interviews be used?
Because interviews are so extensive, careful sampling an interviewing of a select but diverse group of students may permit you to develop an overall portrait of the various understandings that students in the class hold.

They are especially useful in diagnosing "learning errors", "misconceptions", and limitations in reasoning and critical thinking.

Overall, structured interviews can provide a vast amount f information about a student's understanding.
Variations Cont.
Sorting Interviews
Student presented with a group of objects
Asked to sort them according to specific instructions

Problem Solving Interviews
Student asked to attempt to solve a problem while "thinking aloud"
Explaining as much as possible about what he/she is doing
Explain why he/she doing it
What his/her symbols mean
Assessment Purposes
To investigate how well students understand a concept; to identify misconceptions, areas of confusion, and/or gaps in understanding that may be common among a group of students
To document how students can apply their knowledge in concrete settings (e.g., problem solving, trouble shooting)
To document how student understanding and problem-solving skills change over time or with instruction
To obtain verbal feedback from students about course structure, teaching techniques and other aspects of the course or program of instruction
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