Project Study Components

Teaching is complex. Understanding effective teaching requires a careful look at how a variety of skills and practices work together to inspire learning among diverse students.

Measures of Effective Teaching project researchers collected data on five different measures of effective teaching:

1. Student achievement gains on state standardized tests and supplemental tests.

While the state tests are designed to measure how well students have learned in the state standards, supplemental tests tend to measure more reasoning skills and conceptual understanding. The two types of tests together provide a more complete picture of student achievement than either one alone. For more information about the supplemental student assessments used in the study, see the paper “Student Assessments and the MET Project.”

2. Classroom observations and teacher reflections.

To see how well different classroom observation tools identify effective teaching, MET project researchers videotaped four lessons each year in each participating teacher’s classroom. This resulted in over 20,000 videotaped lessons to help inform the project’s findings. Teachers provided notes and supporting materials to give context about each lesson. The videos were reviewed and scored by trained experts using several nationally-recognized observation tools.

For information about the video capture process, see the paper “Classroom Observations and the MET Project.”

The classroom observation tools being studied by the MET project are:

3. Teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge.

In the second year of the project (2010-2011), participating teachers took assessments to measure their ability to choose appropriate strategies and to recognize and diagnose common student errors. For more information about the teacher assessment used in the study, see the paper “Content Knowledge for Teaching and the MET Project.”

4. Student perceptions of the classroom instructional environment.

All students in participating teachers’ classrooms completed surveys about their experience in the classroom and their teachers’ ability to engage them in the course material. For more information about the student feedback survey used in the study, see the paper “Student Perceptions and the MET Project.”

The project’s winter 2010 preliminary findings showed that students are able to identify effective teachers, and that surveys like the one employed as part of the MET project can give teachers concrete feedback to help them improve.

5. Teachers’ perceptions of working conditions and support at their schools.

All participating teachers completed surveys asking them about the quality of working conditions within their schools and the amount of instructional support they receive. For information about the teacher surveys used in the study, see the paper “Teachers’ Perceptions and the MET Project.”