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Instructional supervision: A descriptive study focusing on the observation and evaluation of teachers in cyberschools

, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, United States

Indiana University of Pennsylvania . Awarded


Since 1996, K-12 schools are increasingly moving from a traditional, face-to-face educational environment to an online learning environment utilizing technologies to deliver instruction primarily via the Internet. As this trend continues, administrators familiar with traditional supervisory methods will observe and evaluate teachers of online learning as per state and local mandates. The rapid growth of online learning is outpacing federal, state and local instructional supervision policy, creating a need for researchers and practitioners to better understand how administrators supervise instruction in online learning environments. This study describes performance criteria, supervisory practices, and the impact these practices had on instruction in three cyberschools enrolling full time students.

This study reported performance criteria were similar for both traditional and online teachers in sample schools, however, criteria specific to an online environment such as “multi-tasking” and “technical skills” were also identified in the study. Many instructional criteria did not translate to an online environment, however, administrators adapted supervisory practices to observe and evaluate instruction in cyberschools.

Evaluation documents and policies were not modified to address the shift from face-to-face to online instructional delivery; however, additional instructional techniques observed in lessons were added to evaluations as addenda. Delivering and supervising web-based instruction seems to require separate performance criteria and practices requiring researchers to examine instructional supervision in virtual learning environments.

Supervisory practices were adapted to online learning environments and administrators observed lessons by logging into Learning Management Systems to evaluate instructional delivery. The impact supervisory practices had on instruction were reported by teachers and administrators as having varying degrees of usefulness.

Findings indicate a need for cyberschool accreditation to standardize performance criteria and supervisory practices that facilitate successful instructional supervision in an online environment. In addition, coursework and training on pedagogical practices in cyberschools can provide teachers and administrators with skills to work productively in an online environment. These recommendations could eliminate simply replicating supervisory techniques in a traditional environment and promote innovative practices in an online environment. Technology offers practitioners alternate means to supervise cyberschool teachers and can provide accountability, improvement strategies, and enhance student achievement in schools in the twenty-first century.


Farley, G.C. Instructional supervision: A descriptive study focusing on the observation and evaluation of teachers in cyberschools. Ph.D. thesis, Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved July 25, 2021 from .

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