Module 4: Observing & Evaluating Your Teacher Candidate

Observation & Evaluation Requirements

Observing and providing feedback is an important responsibility of the cooperating teacher. Whenever the teacher candidate is interacting with students, there are opportunities to observe, gather data, and provide feedback. This lesson describes the required observation and evaluation documentation.

Candidate Preservice Assessment for Student Teaching (“CPAST”)

Cooperating teachers are required to complete two CPAST forms in the final term of student teaching – one as a mid-term evaluation and one as a summative evaluation at the end of the term.

The CPAST is a valid and reliable tool that includes a 21-row rubric and supplementary information necessary for student teaching observation and evaluation. The rubric includes two subscales: (I) Pedagogy and (II) Dispositions, which are further divided as follows.

  1. Pedagogy
    1. Planning for Instruction and Assessment
    2. Instructional Delivery
    3. Assessment
    4. Analysis of Teaching
  2. Dispositions
    1. Professional Commitment and Behaviors
    2. Professional Relationships
    3. Critical Thinking and Reflective Practice


Cooperating teachers are required to complete two PreCPAST forms – one at the end of the first term of student teaching and one at the end of the second term of student teaching.

The PreCPAST form is similar to the CPAST form, but involves fewer measures and lower performance expectations.

PreCPAST & CPAST Process

  1. Observe the teacher candidate throughout the term.

  2. Fill out the PreCPAST (terms 1 and 2) or CPAST (term 3) rubric and submit it in TK20.

    You can view, download, and submit the PreCPAST and CPAST forms in TK20. Aim to complete the form approximately one week before the consensus meeting.

    The teacher candidate and university supervisor will also fill-out their own copies of the CPAST form.

  3. Participate in the consensus meeting with the teacher candidate and university supervisor.

    Once all three parties (cooperating teacher, university supervisor, teacher candidate) have completed the CPAST rubric, the university supervisor will schedule a meeting with you and your teacher candidate.

    At the meeting, the three of you will discuss scores on each section of the PreCPAST or CPAST and arrive at a consensus score. The university supervisor will enter consensus scores into TK20.

The university supervisor will go over the CPAST process at the start-of-term meeting.

Clinical Observation Feedback Form

Cooperating teachers are required to complete five Clinical Observation Feedback Forms – one in the first term and two each in the second and third terms.

The Clinical Observation Feedback Form is shorter and less formal than both the PreCPAST and CPAST. The form is divided into three parts: (I) Rubric, (II) Goals, and (III) Strengths.

Clinical Observation Feedback Process

  1. Have a pre-lesson meeting with the teacher candidate.

    Meet with the teacher candidate before the lesson to review their lesson plans and offer suggestions. Keep track of the pre-lesson meeting date as you’ll need to enter it in TK20.

  2. Observe the teacher candidate as they teach the lesson.

  3. Have a post-lesson meeting with the teacher candidate.

    Set aside time either on the same day of the observation or soon after to debrief with your teacher candidate. Keep track of the post-lesson meeting date as you’ll need to enter it in TK20.

  4. Submit the completed Clinical Observation Feedback Form in TK20.

    You can view, download, and submit the Clinical Observation Feedback Form in TK20, or use the link below to download a blank copy of the form to fill out and later copy your responses into TK20.

Optional Observation & Evaluation Tools

Observation tools

The following observation tools focus on gathering objective data. Ask your teacher candidate what kind of data they want you to collect and share. You can also ask your teacher Candidate to observe you and gather data about your teaching to get them used to the process of observation.

Event sampling is a method of recording student and/or the teacher candidate behavior. The observer decides in advance what types of behavior (events) they are interested in and records all occurrences. All other types of behavior are ignored.

Event Sampling Example

In this example, the cooperating teacher tracks the type of question asked and whether hands were raised or not. This data could lead to interesting conversations about rigor of the lesson and engagement of students.

Action Boys Girls
Knowledge Questions five tick marksone tick mark three tick marks
Comprehension Questions two tick marks
Application Questions four tick marks five tick marksfive tick marks
Analysis Questions one tick mark one tick mark
Synthesis Questions three tick marks four tick marks
Evaluative Questions two tick marks five tick marksthree tick marks
Hand Raised five tick marks five tick marksfive tick marks
No Hand Raised five tick marks two tick marks

Time sampling is a method of recording what students and/or the teacher candidate are doing at a certain point in time. With time sampling, the observer decides in advance that observation will take place only during specified time periods (for example, every 5 minutes or 1 hour per day) and records the occurrence of the specified behavior during that period only.

Time Sampling Example

In this example, the teacher candidate’s behavior is tracked at 5-minute intervals. This might be useful information if a teacher candidate is wondering about time management or if lessons tend to run short or long. It helps us be more aware of how we spend our time.

Time Action
1:00 P
1:05 P
1:10 P
1:15 M
1:20 M
1:25 H
1:30 M
1:35 I
1:30 I


  • P = Presenting
  • M = Managing
  • H = Helping
  • I = Individualized Instruction

Although it is impossible to capture in writing everything that is said during a lesson, we can selectively record elements of the lesson that are most relevant to an observational focus. We call this selective scripting.

Selective Scripting Example

Time Teacher Students
12:50 “If you’re ready, thumbs up.” [7 students put thumbs up]
“_____ is ready, _____ is ready.” [6 more put thumbs up]
“We’re going to look at words ending in /ed/ and /d/ today.”
“When do words have /ed/ or /d/ as their ending?” “They already happened.” (Cody – hand raised)
“It was in the past.” (Melissa – no hand raised)
“Yes, /d/ and /ed/ tell us the action happened in the past.”
12:55 [passes out text to each student, students get different reading levels of text]
“Please read your paragraph and highlight all the /d/ and /ed/ words.”
[all students participating and highlighting (very quiet) working independently and silently]
[monitors, walks around, checks in with 6 students]
“No, just circle the /ed/ and /d/ endings.” “Teacher, like this?” (Martin)
[continues check-in, supports as needed]
[helps Chelsea find a few that she missed]
“Read this sentence to me…”
[Chelsea reads the sentence, finds another /ed/ word]
1:05 “Vicente – since you are done, you will start collecting highlighters.” [Vicente picks up highlighters]

The seating chart tool is perhaps the most simple tool to use. It is simply a blank piece of paper with a sketch of the classroom layout. It can be used to track engagement, participation, or movement.

Seating Chart Example

This example shows what each student was doing at 5-minute intervals while working on an independent task.

It might help a newer teacher better understand how students are functioning.

Diagram showing an overhead view of a classroom with 6 tables, each table is divided into quadrants to indicate the 4 students sitting at each table. In each quadrant, there are 4 letters that are a combination of A, O, D, N, and T.


  • A = At task
  • O = Off task
  • D = Different school work
  • N = Not in seat
  • T = Talking to others

Consider any of the sample data from this lesson. What do you notice that you would want to draw the teacher candidate’s attention to?

Evaluation tools

While the observation tools are about providing objective data, the following evaluation tools can be used to assess and provide subjective feedback to the teacher candidate.

The three column chart is an easy tool to apply in the early stages of a working relationship. It’s low-risk, acknowledges strengths, and provides feedback. In the three column chart, each column has a picture at the top that represent what’s working well, questions the observer has, and ideas.

Three Column Chart Example

Works well
  • Room is inviting and well organized with clear areas for reading, supplies, calendar, etc.
  • Students attention is focused towards the front
  • I appreciate that you are using the microphone, it really makes a difference in the classroom
  • You are using praise to correct and reinforce behaviors
  • Students are participating and engaged while you are speaking
  • You are very consistent with having students raise their hands and modeling by raising your own hand
  • You are a natural at engaging students through simple things, e.g. close your eyes and 1, 2, 3
  • You noticed that they needed to move before writing the date, so you had them stand up and practice counting


  • I know you’ve mentioned this before, but have you thought of another way for students to earn filberts? It seemed like you did something different with the timing, makinng the reward closer to the action…
  • If you had to do the rock cycle lab in a remote setting, how do you think that could be adapted?
  • How might you turn the sprint into an assessment? Or do you think it works better as a group activity?


When you called on a student for calendar and they got the response incorrect, you took a couple of seconds to reteach and gave them think time and then allowed them to answer again. This time they got it correct.

This little exchange is referred to as “No Opt Out,” where students know they are not expected to have the correct answer, but they will be accountable for the correct answer. This is a great strategy!

Another way it can be done is: (1) Teacher asks question, (2) Student A answers incorrectly, (3) Teacher calls on another student, (4) Student B answers correctly, (5) Teacher goes back to student A and asks them to answer it again (letting them know that they are accountable for listening and that they will get it correct).

The CAL provides a protocol for conversations between an experienced educator and a less experienced educator. It covers strengths, challenges, and next steps for both the teacher candidate and cooperating teacher.

Collaborative Assessment Log Example

Below is a sample CAL based on a conversation with an 8th grade science teacher. Notice that the process is driven by the teacher candidate.

What’s Working
  • Caught up on grading! Yeah!
  • Seeing the benefits of time spent building sense of community in classroom – students more willing to work together in table groups
  • Silent count-down working better to get their attention
  • PLC really coming together – excited about upcoming lessons
  • Looking forward to break
Current Focus–Challenges–Concerns
  • 6th period – large class, some behavior issues, feeling like I still haven’t won them over, trying to use positive reinforcement rather than negative, not sure it’s working, assessments lower than other classes
  • Wondering about additional vocabulary reinforcement ideas
  • Focus on posting specific expectations each day – trying to remember to go over these and go back to them if needed
Teacher Candidate’s Next Steps
  • Gather examples of student work from 6th period and from other classes for comparison
  • Keep working on posting teaching expectations
Cooperating Teacher’s Next Steps
  • Visit 6th period, collect data on off task behavior and student movement (Thursday)
  • Send lesson ideas for review of vocabulary (talk about this more next time)
Next Meeting Date

Thursday, 10/18


Data collection/student work from 6th period

Although not required, we recommend using the Three Column Chart or the CAL during your weekly meeting with your teacher candidate to help guide the conversation and keep track of progress.

What To Do If Your Teacher Candidate Doesn’t Meet Expectations

Although it does not happen often, sometimes teacher candidates fall short of our expectations. The best thing to do is to address the issue as soon as it is noticed. The way we address it will depend on the nature of the issue. This lesson contains some scenarios based on actual experience in the Salem-Keizer School District.

If the teacher candidate is… struggling with the transition from student to teacher

Some student teachers seem to struggle with the transition from student to teacher. They may dress more like the students than the teachers, and they may use slang more than you would like.

…we recommend…

Having a one-on-one conversation with the teacher candidate. Remember to be specific about your expectations.

Rather than say, “You need to dress more professionally,” you might say, “Please wear pants that are not jeans and a shirt with a collar.”

If talking to the teacher candidate does not produce the desired change in behavior, contact the university supervisor. Again, you will need to be clear about what you think needs to change.

If the teacher candidate is… not up to par

For one reason or another, on occasion, some of our teacher candidate’s may struggle.

…we recommend…

Contacting the university supervisor. Please let the supervisor know as soon as you notice a teacher candidate having difficulty doing things you think they should be able to do (lesson plan, teach small lessons, give directions, manage students, and so on…).

If the teacher candidate is… often late

It is possible that your teacher candidate has never had a job with a set schedule. They may not understand that they must report for work at an assigned time and stay until the designated end of the work day.

Some teacher candidates struggle with this or don’t realize that they need to keep you informed as to their whereabouts.

…we recommend…

Talking to them one-on-one. Be clear and specific about expected arrival and departure times. This is all part of teaching professionalism to those who may be very early in their careers.

If the teacher candidate is… taking over your classroom

Some teacher candidates have a great deal of confidence and feel ready to make curriculum and lesson decisions for the classroom. You might really like some of these decisions, or you might not.

…we recommend…

Asking yourself these questions:

  • Is what the teacher candidate is doing in line with school and district curriculum plans?
  • Do I think the lesson or curriculum choice will be successful? If not, would it be beneficial for the teacher candidate to experience this?
  • Balancing what might be gained, will it be a negative experience for students?

The bottom line is that this is your classroom and you can direct a student teacher in content and instructional approach. You have the final say on what happens in your classroom. If you need support having this conversation with your teacher candidate, contact your university supervisor right away.