Rising Above a Gathering Storm of Data: Triangulating Findings Through Formative and Summative Evaluation Methodologies
Author: Sonya Martin

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We conclude that the SLPAI, which utilizes artifacts of teaching and learning as data sources, is complementary but not redundant to other measures of teaching practice. The SLPAI specifically addresses issues particular to the nature of the science classroom, and is a more easily scalable method than direct observation. An added benefit of lesson plan analysis is that it provides the researcher information about a larger unit of teaching than a one-day observation, offering the researcher a more complete view of a teacher's practices. However, lesson plan review does present some unavoidable sources of imprecision as a measurement technique. A lesson plan, by definition, does not provide information about lesson enactment, unless post-lesson information is also provided. We have also found that evaluators are often more critical of a familiar lesson than one they have not experienced. For this reason, we recommend that evaluators using the SLPAI have classroom experience with the age level and science discipline being evaluated. With these caveats in mind, the SLPAI is a unique and powerful tool for measuring teaching practices over time, especially when used in concert with other measures.