What can(’t) we learn from lesson observation?

17th June 2019 : 12:45 - 14:00

Category: Seminar

Research Group: Quantitative Methods Hub

Speaker: Daniel Muijs, Ofsted, United Kingdom

Location: Seminar Room D, Department of Education

Lesson observation has long been a central part of both accountability systems and of educational research (in particular research on teacher effectiveness).

The practise is controversial, however, especially when used for accountability purposes such as for judging the quality of teaching, teachers, lessons or subjects, with both reliability and validity highlighted as potentially problematic. In this presentation we will draw on a large-scale research programme conducted by Ofsted in which we looked at both validity and reliability of lesson observation as a component of inspecting the quality of education. We draw on data from observations of over 350 lessons by two paired inspectors/researchers analysed using a range of methods. Conclusions are relevant to both accountability and research.


In 2019, the University of Oxford’s Department of Education celebrates the 100th year since the passing of a statute creating what was known in 1919 as the University Department for the Training of Teachers. To celebrate our centenary a year-long series of activities will be delivered to address some of the department’s top initiatives for 2019, answer some of the big questions facing education today and to reveal the advancements the department has made to the study of and research in the field of education. Join us as we mark our 100th year and discover more about our anniversary here.

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