Teachers Manage Work Load

Written by: CEHD Communications Staff
Post date: January 06, 2010

Texas teachers identify paperwork and discipline as the primary obstacles to spending more time on instruction, but a project created at Texas A&M University works to help educators reduce the amount of time they spend on these tasks so they can focus on teaching.

"Project Data to Knowledge (D2K) is about assisting teachers and using data to make decisions in classroom settings," says Kimberly Vannest, principal investigator and assistant professor in the Department of Educational Psychology.

Now in its fifth year and funded by the Texas Education Agency, the project has three primary goals: 1) use technology to decrease paperwork to improve teacher instructional time; 2) monitor progress of academic and behavioral skills to improve student performance; and 3) examine measurement issues associated with both.

Project D2K utilizes an online portal, with the following applications: Science Key Vocabulary Assessment (SKeVA), a science assessment tool with reading and audio components for fifth and eighth grade; Electronic Daily Behavior Report Card (e-DBRC), a system to monitor student behavior, implement interventions, and communicate with parents and caregivers; and Teacher Time Use Study (TTU), which tracks how educators utilize classroom time and can be used to improve instructional time.

With more than 15,000 teacher hours logged in the system, the research team has created the largest known database of teacher time, which puts them in the unique position of seeing where those hours are going, Vannest notes.

"Some teachers spend less than half their day teaching because there are so many other responsibilities that take up their time, such as paperwork, supervising first-year teachers or disciplining students," she says. "All these things eat away at a teacher's day and leave very little time for instruction, especially for teachers of children with special needs."

Vannest says hundreds of hours can be saved by using an electronic system, such as D2K, simply to create and grade tests.

"In the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M University, we are training teachers to use evidence-based practices and data to inform their decision-making. However, if paperwork, data collection and progress monitoring tasks consume much of their day, there is little time left to engage in actual teaching." Vannest says. "The very best teachers aren't as effective if they don't have time to teach."

For more information on Project D2K, visit d2k.tamu.edu.

- See more at: http://education.tamu.edu/news-archive/2010/01/teachers-manage-work-load...