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Tool Name
Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol (RTOP)

Evaluation Type
Classroom Observations

Mathematics specific

All Grades

Use of Evaluation
Used in Research


This product was developed by Michael Piburn, Daiyo Sawada, Kathleen Falconer, Jeff Turley, Russell Benford, and Irene Bloom from the Arizona Collaborative for Excellence in the Preparation of Teachers (ACEPT) at Arizona State University.

Product Description
This observation tool examines lesson design and implementation, content, and classroom culture in science and mathematics K–12 classrooms. It was designed by ACEPT at Arizona State University to determine the extent to which the instruction in a mathematics or science classroom is reformed to meet the national science and mathematics standards. Videotaped lessons are evaluated on the following components: Lesson Design and Implementation, Content: Propositional Pedagogic Knowledge, Content: Procedural Pedagogic Knowledge, Classroom Culture: Communicative Interactions, and Classroom Culture: Student/Teacher Relationships.

General Target Population Information
This product is designed to examine teachers at all stages in Grades K–12 science and mathematics classrooms.

Stage of Teacher Development
All Stages

This observation instrument has been used for research purposes; it has been deemed through research to be both valid and reliable for observing teachers in Grades K–12 science and mathematics classrooms.

Research and Resources

MacIsaac, D. L., Sawada, D., & Falconer, K. A. (2001). Using the reform teacher observation protocol (RTOP) as a catalyst for self-reflective change in secondary science teaching. In Developing and utilizing an observation instrument to define, quantify, assess and refine reformed teaching practice in K–20 science and mathematics. Peer-reviewed poster and paper. American Education Research Association Division K.

Pilburn, M., Sawada, D., Falconer, K., Turley, J., Benford, R., & Bloom, I. (2000). Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol (RTOP). Tempe, AZ: Arizona Collaborative for Excellence in the Preparation of Teachers.

Sawada, D., Piburn, M., Judson, E., Turley, J., Falconer, K., Benford, R., & Bloom, I. (2002). Measuring reform practices in science and mathematics classrooms: The Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol. School Science and Mathematics, 102(6), 245–253.

The RTOP reference manual, rating scale, and teacher training are available online at no cost to users.

Contact Information
Susan Wyckoff 
ACEPT Arizona Collaborative for Excellence in Preparation of Teachers
Department of Physics and Astronomy
P.O. Box 871504
Tempe, AZ 85287-1504
Phone: 480-965-1606

Support Available

The full RTOP reference manual is available at

The RTOP rating guide is available at

An online version of teacher training on RTOP can be found at This teacher training includes the RTOP rubric, videos, and expert scoring sheets.