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Student engagement surveys have become more widely used since the Gates Foundation’s study of Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) found that student feedback is more accurate than classroom observations at predicting student achievement gains (Kane & Cantrell, 2010).  As one of multiple measures, student reports can provide information about teaching quality for the individual teacher, for a grade level, or for different subject matter courses (MET Project, 2012).

Given the problems of using standardized testing data and the complexity of comparing classroom-based measures, NExT has sought ways to understand teaching impact on students by talking directly to the teachers about the instruction and learning in their classrooms using Student Work Sample Interviews, Focus Groups on Student Impact, Case Studies of Impact on Student Learning, and action research focused on student learning.  All of these local approaches to understanding impact on P-12 students are based on a combination of conversations directly with teachers accompanied by classroom artifacts such as student work samples and teaching materials that illustrate the teachers’ learning expectations and how the students responded to instruction.  In Chapter 4, we offer tools such as interview protocols and sample rubrics that seek to identify high impact qualities within such conversations and artifacts.  These approaches to measuring impact on P-12 students are more locally focused and do not provide data from the whole student population in the classroom or school, but they offer an alternative source of student impact data to the often unavailable student achievement data derived from standardized test scores.