Development and Use of Observational Protocols

This session presents the development and use of observational protocols. The collaborative team elicits feedback from the participants to enhance the protocols.

Friday, June 15, 2012 - 10:30am to 12:30pm
Product Feedback Session

This session presents the development and use of observational protocols. The collaborative team elicits feedback from the participants to enhance the protocols.

Criteria for Coaching—The Criteria for Coaching instrument, based on data gathered through observation of school-based coaches and interviews with school staff, provides insights into what is really working in coaching, and helps to identify how coaches perceive their existing set of skills in relation to a research-based set of skills. One reason coaches are often hired is because it provides schools and districts a way to embed professional development for teachers by creating opportunities to improve their practice through the use of a coach. The examination of coaching practice supports that model, and until recently, there has been no formal mechanism to examine how coaches are carrying out their role and responsibilities. The draft coaching observation protocol creates a mechanism and process for communicating with administrators and others about what to look for in coaching practice. It also has the potential of helping administrators support coaches to be more productive and effective in their role of supporting teachers to improve practice. 

The goals of this portion of the session include reviewing a coaching observation protocol and gaining insight into how it was developed, discussing ways to enhance or refine the instrument for different purposes, and discussing the various ways the instrument could be used to further coaching skill development.

Mathematics Instruction for English Language Learners (MI-ELL) and Dynamic Geometry in ClassroomsThe MI-ELL project is a research and development project whose main objective is to empirically estimate whether and which classroom factors contribute to mathematics gains of English language learners. The Dynamic Geometry project is conducting repeated randomized control trials of an approach to high school geometry that uses Sketchpad and supporting instructional materials to supplement instructional practices. In both projects, it is necessary to design and develop classroom observation protocols, and use these instruments to capture and measure important aspects of implementation fidelity and quality in observed mathematics lessons.

The main goal of this portion of the session is to seek feedback in the development of two instruments designed to capture aspects of instruction reflecting implementation fidelity of the dynamic approach to teaching geometry and quality of mathematical instruction for English language learners.

Engaging Youth in Engineering (EYE) Middle School Module Development Study—This project is working to develop a protocol for observing in the classrooms of middle school teachers implementing the presenters’ developing curriculum. They initially used the Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol (RTOP) because it was widely used and had validity data linking higher scores with achievement. However, the expected heterogeneity of classroom activities meant that the RTOP would not always capture what they were interested in seeing in the classroom. So to their use of the RTOP they have added a second instrument, drawing on a protocol developed by Lawrenz, Huffman, and Appeldoorn.

The goal during this portion of the session is to present the protocol (with sample video) and to engage the audience in a process of using the pattern-matching evidence from the observations to draw inferences about fidelity of implementation, the nature of instruction during one of the modules, and the effectiveness of the pattern-matching approach.