Forty-four states now require that classroom observations be incorporated into teacher evaluations, according to a 2013 report by the National Council on Teacher Quality. In 24 of these states, multiple annual observations are required as part of each evaluation for at least new, if not all, teachers. To help districts simplify the observation process, Performance Matters™ has added new enhancements to the FASTe Observer classroom observation tool.
Part of the FASTe (Formative Action System for Teacher Effectiveness) platform, a turnkey system for evaluating educator effectiveness, FASTe Observer allows school leaders to observe classrooms using a number of leading frameworks and forms. Observations can be conducted using a computer, iPad or other hand-held device that supports a modern standard web browser. To provide maximum flexibility, FASTe Observer users can edit observations – online or offline -- on multiple devices and browsers, sync the observations to the FASTe system, and then save them. Observers may also notify individuals upon scheduling an observation, and then allow them to follow the progress or notify them once the observation is complete.
“For some time we had been using the Performance Matters assessment and data management system, along with a separate program for evaluations,” said Madeline Hubbard, computer technology specialist at Queen Anne’s County (MD) Public Schools. “With the new FASTe Observer we now have our student data and teacher evaluation data all in the same place. It saves so much paperwork, and everyone is thrilled about how simple and easy it is to enter data, schedule and update evaluations, and create reports. We also love the ability to work on one form on a desktop or tablet, at school, home, or wherever you are. That’s a big plus for busy administrators.”
The newly released version of FASTe Observer includes an enhanced user interface, which features a new look and expanded navigation tools. For ease of use, an updated Observation page now displays a color-coded system that allows observers to easily see which observations have been scheduled, which observations are in progress and can be edited, which observations have been marked for digital signature, and which observations are complete.
A new Quick Schedule feature saves time in scheduling observations by allowing users to quickly find the observee and form required by searching a list or accessing a dropdown menu. After selecting the date of the observation, the observer can automatically notify the observee with one click. Alternately, if an observer has multiple observations to schedule, this can be done all at once using the Schedule menu.
“FASTe gives educators the timely information they need to measure the impact they’re having on student learning,” said Woody Dillaha, CEO and co-founder of Performance Matters. “Unlike other educator evaluation tools, FASTe allows schools and districts to view teacher observation data alongside student achievement data, so they can better connect student outcomes to teacher practices to improve educator effectiveness.”
About Performance Matters
Performance Matters helps K-12 school systems improve student learning by providing comprehensive, integrated solutions for assessment, data management and teacher effectiveness. Based in Winter Park, Fla., Performance Matters’ solutions are used by school districts across the country. For more information, visit www.performancematters.com or call (407) 645-1800.