To assess is to estimate the value of something. While government agencies, groups and individuals have proposed many ways to assess education, we believe the best measurement is recording what you see and hear in classrooms.

Once your community has defined quality, we encourage you to go into classrooms and document where and at what levels it exists. To begin you must decide what to observe. For example, will you measure quality in school classrooms, after school programs and/or community centers?

Next, you will need a consistent way for all the members of your community to document what they see. Train people to observe with the same tools and non-judgmental attitude.

Finally, always begin with the end in mind. Before getting started, decide how you will use observation data to rate quality and determine investments for improving quality.

These video stories reflect how and why different people document what they see and hear to assess quality. Learn how they identify strengths, invest in improvements, and quantify outcome measures.

Featured Resources

How to Document What You Observe 
This tool outlines how to take a running record and what behaviors to note. It also contains poor and improved observation examples.

Observation Packet Template 
This template contains a running record, observation summary, program instruction record, and feedback for improvement form. It is a complete observation packet that can be customized as needed. 

Spectrum of Characteristics of Quality Teaching and Learning
This tool describes the spectrum of characteristics of quality teaching and learning, from less than basic to basic to proficient to advanced.

“Shouldn't we be preparing all of our kids for whatever their choices are out there in life? The success of our school is measured not by the best but by those who come to us with the least when they start. The measure is those kids who come to us with little or no background and how much you can push them and how far you can take them.”

Tracie Fraley

Tracie Fraley

Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts