Lesson observations have come under heavy fire in recent years as an inaccurate way of measuring teacher performance, yet they persist in most schools in various guises. Grainne Hallahan asks whether the time has come to finally rule them out completely
Here is a question that sounds easier to answer than it actually is: how do you know if someone is a good teacher?
Schools employ a number of tools they believe can measure teacher effectiveness. Leaders configure data and analyse patterns, compare lesson starts and finishes; some schools will also use student voice surveys to decide how good a teacher is. But by far the commonest way to assess teaching is through lesson observations.
The accuracy of most of these measures is patchy and subject to bias, but lesson observations are a particularly complex problem: firstly, because so many ...