I just read a really interesting article on the pitfalls of classroom observations and decided to start a discussion. This is such an interesting article. Personally, I've always enjoyed observations, albeit I'm literally terrified: like bungee jumping or sky diving terrified. But they give my students a chance to show-off what they can do. This article goes into some statistics about which type of teacher got the highest evaluations based on observations, but looked even more closely at classroom composition. I agree that classroom composition plays a huge part in student achievement, and just in what I can do with them. This year I lucked out in that I have a class (2 classes actually) that are perfectly suited for projects and investigations (student-led learning) that will overall increase their achievement. Some years I can't do that because of lack of participation, behavior issues, lack of parent support. Last year's class, while I loved them, didn't have the internal motivation for much. They didn't bring back homework, I had very little parent involvement or communication, and 20 of my 24 students were extremely shy, as in painfully so. So I'm sure it looked like was only engaging the 4 students who would willingly join in discussions. I don't think observations are an ineffective tool; but classroom composition needs to be taken into account for what is being observed. Check out this article and let me know what you think.