An Argument Approach to Observation Protocol Validity

Published In: Educational Assessment, v. 17, no. 2-3, Apr. 2012, p. 62-87

Posted on RAND.org on April 01, 2012

by Courtney A. Bell, Drew H. Gitomer, Daniel F. McCaffrey, Bridget K. Hamre, Robert C. Pianta, Yi Qi

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This article develops a validity argument approach for use on observation protocols currently used to assess teacher quality for high-stakes personnel and professional development decisions. After defining the teaching quality domain, we articulate an interpretive argument for observation protocols. To illustrate the types of evidence that might compose a validity argument, we draw on data from a validity study of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System for secondary classrooms. Based on data from 82 Algebra classrooms, we illustrate how data from observation scores, value-added models, generalizability studies, and measures of teacher knowledge, student achievement, and teacher and student beliefs could be used to build a validity argument for observation protocols. Strengths and limitations of the validity argument approach as well as the issues the approach raises for observation protocol validity research are considered.

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