Rebecca Woodland on Evaluating and Measuring Teacher Collaboration

Hello friends in evaluation, my name is Rebecca Woodland and I’m an associate professor of educational leadership at UMass Amherst. I’ve been a contributor to AEA in a variety of ways on the topic of evaluating and improving organizational and inter-professional collaboration. I’m especially passionate about using evaluation to cultivate meaningful teacher collaboration in PreK – 12 school settings. In this post I’d like to share some tips and tools for assessing teacher collaboration. Evaluators can use these tools to help stakeholders avoid “collaboration lite,” whereby mere congeniality and imprecise conversation is confused with the serious professional dialogue vital to instructional change, student learning, and school improvement.

Hot Tip – K-12 educators are passionate about teacher collaboration, and know that it is the vehicle to instructional improvement. Unfortunately, the term collaboration, although ubiquitous, persists as a messy (under-empiricized, under-operationalized) construct. Fortunately, evaluators are uniquely positioned to help stakeholders make sense – to raise shared literacy – about what teacher collaboration ideally looks and feels like.

Rad Resources – 1) Evaluating and Improving the Quality of Teacher Collaboration: A Field-Tested Framework for School Leaders ©2008 NASSP Bulletin

and 2) Evaluating the Imperative of Inter-Personal Collaboration: A School Improvement Perspective ©2007 American Journal of Evaluation. (http://aje.sagepub.com/content/28/1/26.short)

Co-authored with my colleague Chris Koliba, both present a theoretical frame for inter-professional collaboration, and specific suggestions for how evaluators can facilitate shared stakeholder understanding of collaboration.

Hot Tip – Collaboration can be operationalized (and measured)! Teacher collaboration entails on-going cycle of dialogue, decision-making, action and evaluation, through which teachers build their knowledge and skills and make targeted changes to classroom practice – the primary factors attributed to improvements in student learning.

Rad Resource – The Teacher Collaboration Assessment Survey (TCAS). The TCAS is a validated instrument for the systematic assessment and targeted improvement teacher collaboration. Evaluators can use this tool in a variety of ways to evaluate the process and outcomes of teacher collaboration. Access the TCAS in: Woodland, et al. (2013) A Validation Study of the Teacher Collaboration Assessment Survey in Educational Research and Evaluation: An International Journal of Theory and Practice. ()

The evaluation of teacher collaboration can help build educator capacity to recognize and strengthen attributes of teacher teaming, and to make systematic, evidenced-based improvements to instructional practice that lead to greater student learning.

See you in Denver for AEA 2014!

This contribution is from the aea365 Tip-a-Day Alerts, by and for evaluators, from the American Evaluation Association. Please consider contributing – send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. Want to learn more from Rebecca? She’ll be presenting as part of the Evaluation 2014Conference Program, October 15-18 in Denver, Colorado.

4 thoughts on “Rebecca Woodland on Evaluating and Measuring Teacher Collaboration”

  1. Hello Rebecca. I am an undergraduate psychology student at Texas A&M Central Texas. Teachers do try to collaborate about the overall function of how they inner school system works and great ideas that want to be implemented. The goal is the education of the children. I can see were many ideas would meet a timely end. Education program evaluation would be most beneficial to this common problem. Being able to view all resources, funding, cost, and training.

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