Teacher Time Study results presented to DCSD Board of Education
An average of 1,035 hours of non-instructional activity time reported
CASTLE ROCK— Results of Douglas County School District’s (DCSD) Teacher Time Study were presented by RMC Research last month at a special session of the Board of Education. The survey, conducted Fall 2016, asked teachers to estimate how much time they spent on non-instructional activities, including instructional planning, last year.
“The way we defined non-instructional time was that it was any time not teaching children regardless of whether or not that time occurred during a normal teaching day,” said Dr. Shelley Billig, Vice President of RMC Research.
The Teacher Time Study was designed to inform future resolutions or policies related to teacher time use.
Overall, 3,613 DCSD teachers were invited to participate in the survey. Of these teachers, 1,440, or 39.9 percent responded.
“This is much higher than the response rates you get for typical teacher surveys,” Billig said.
355 additional staff members were invited to take the survey at the request of the Board of Education, including interventionists, librarians, psychologists, and speech language pathologists. Of these staff members, 111, or 31.3 percent, responded.
An analysis of respondents by RMC suggested a good representation of teachers across grade levels, though teachers new to DCSD and teachers who work at charter schools were underrepresented.
The study focused on three major questions:
What is the nature and extent of the non-instructional responsibilities and requirements of DCSD teachers and how do they (a) vary by teacher type and (b) relate to mandates by the school, district, state of Colorado and federal government requests?
What is the amount and proportion of time spent by DCSD teachers on non-instructional activities, including: (a) professional development, and (b) in-service days, (c) planning activities and (d) administration of required state testing?
How do DCSD teachers use time allocated for planning activities?
Teacher advisors were involved in the construction of the survey, and DCSD staff and Board leadership reviewed a draft of the survey. The survey was also reviewed by an external institutional review board to make sure all survey respondents were protected appropriately.
Seven categories of time were looked at, including professional development, instructional planning, student assessment, school management, parent/guardian communication, CITE evaluation and extracurricular student support.
The study’s primary findings was that full-time teachers in 2015-2016 reported spending an average of 1,035 hours on non-instructional activities.
The vast majority of those hours were reported to be allocated for instructional planning (43%), followed by assessment (17%), school management (15%), parent/guardian communication (9%), professional development (7%), CITE evaluation (6%) and targeted student assistance (3%). Each of these categories further breaks down into subcategories, with a total of 35 areas measured.
Since responses were based on memory recall, rather than time logs, teachers were also asked about their confidence level in their responses for each of the 35 areas.
“There’s not a huge range in confidence. Everything is between ‘somewhat [confident]’ and ‘very [confident],’ so generally respondents reported that they were fairly confident across all of these hour estimates,” said Dr Stephen Meyer, Senior Research Associate for RMC.
The perceptions of value of each subcategory was additionally measured. Instructional planning activities such as lesson planning, department/team work, and classroom preparation were reported as having the highest perceived value. The lower items on the list relate to CITE evaluation activity, such as gathering and uploading evidence of performance, as well as administering state assessments.