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Tool Name
Protocol for Language Arts Teaching Observations (PLATO)

Evaluation Type
Classroom Observations

Language Arts specific

Middle Grades only

Use of Evaluation
Used in Research


This product was developed by Pam Grossman, Ph.D., and Susanna Loeb, Ph.D., at Stanford University.

Product Description
This measure is a subject-specific observation protocol for middle school language arts teachers that includes 10 instructional dimensions: Connections to Prior Knowledge, Connections to Personal and/or Cultural Experience, Models/Modeling, Explicit Strategy Instruction, Guided Practice, Classroom Discourse, Text-Based Instruction, Accommodations for Language-Learning, Classroom Environment, and Content of Instruction. Classrooms are scored on the following scale: provides almost no evidence, provides limited evidence, provides evidence with inconsistencies, and provides consistent evidence.

General Target Population Information
This product was designed for use with middle school language arts teachers.

Stage of Teacher Development
All Stages

This protocol is being used by researchers including Grossman and Loeb. It is currently being used in the Understanding Teaching Quality (UTC) study conducted by ETS, the Rand Corporation, and the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. Drew Gitomer, Ph.D., and Courtney Bell, Ph.D., are leading the study, which is funded by a four-year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Research and Resources
In a study funded by the William T. Grant Foundation, Dr. Grossman and Dr. Loeb will conduct research on this observation protocol, studying 220 New York City middle school language arts teachers. This research seeks to identify the instructional practices that lead to student achievement. The analysis will focus on instructional practices that predict teachers' impact on changes in student achievement. The study will be completed in 2010. Additional research is currently under way by Dr. Gitomer and Dr. Bell at ETS.

Cost for the use of this product has not been established.

Contact Information

Pam Grossman, Ph.D.
Stanford University
School of Education
Phone: 650-723-0791

Support Available

This product is currently in development. Dr. Grossman or  Dr. Loeb may offer training or consider consultation.