University of Latvia (LATVIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2019 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 5555-5563
ISBN: 978-84-09-14755-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2019.1329
Conference name: 12th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 11-13 November, 2019
Location: Seville, Spain
Latvia is currently implementing national educational reform "Competence based Education Curriculum Development and Implementation". One of the aims of the reform is to implement teaching-learning approaches that would enable students to develop 21st century skills. In this study we propose how to assess teacher competence to help teachers and school leaders to address the new challenges brought by the educational reform and successfully implement reform goals in the classroom. Studying competence assessment is part of a research project attempting to transfer a model describing the competence management process into selected pilot school practice. Personalized competence development follows as the next phase of the model.

Teacher competence is defined as the integrated set of knowledge, skills and beliefs that manifest in a specific work situation (Kunter et al., 2013). In order to assess teacher competence for teaching 21st century skills and identify their professional development needs, a combination of lesson observation and online tests are used in this study

Lesson observation criteria and test questions were developed based on a framework of teacher performance assessment that consists of a structured set of performance level descriptors to help determine teacher level of competence (0-4) according to criteria developed. Our proposed four online tests assess teachers` knowledge and beliefs in an integrated way including elements of survey questions through teachers` choice of his/her most typical behavior to facilitate student self-regulation, student cognitive activation, student collaboration and leveraging digital learning.

The study was carried out in 8 pilot schools selected according to criteria developed to reach project goals in the period from September 2017 to June 2019. First, the schools set their goals directly linked to student learning in the classroom related to teaching-learning 21st century skills. Then experienced and specially trained experts from the Interdisciplinary Center for Educational Innovation at the University of Latvia (UL ICEI) identify the needed and appropriate teacher competence profiles according to the goals set in each school. A universal teacher profile for each teacher is created and it consists of selected categories and criteria defined in the expected level (scale 0-4) based on a theoretical category-criteria framework for teaching performance to develop 21st century skills (Bērtule et al., 2019).

The experts from UL ICEI observed, transcribed and analyzed 149 lessons in 19 different subjects carried out by 135 teachers in all age groups (1st till 12th grade). Online tests were completed by 111 teachers. When combining the results of lesson observation and online tests the actual teacher profile is obtained. The results help to recognize the teacher competence gap – difference between expected competence level and the actual level. The obtained results can be used to identify both - the common professional development needs for teachers needed to reach goals set in the school, as well as the personalized professional development needs for each teacher.

This research is supported by the ERDF research project ''The Application of Principles for Information System Modelling to Structured and Goal-Oriented Competence Management'', agreement No.
21st century skills, Lesson observation, Online tests, Professional development needs.