Using global observation protocols to inform research on teaching effectiveness and school improvement: Strengths and emerging limitations

Sean Kelly, Robert Bringe, Esteban Aucejo, Jane Cooley Fruehwirth


An essential feature of many modern teacher observation protocols is their “global” approach to measuring instruction. Global protocols provide a summary evaluation of multiple domains of instruction from observers’ overall review of classroom processes.  Although these protocols have demonstrated strengths, including their comprehensiveness and advanced state of development, in this analysis we argue that global protocols also have inherent limitations affecting both research use and applied school improvement efforts.  Analyzing the Measures of Effective Teaching study data, we interrogate a set of five potential limitations of global protocols.  We conclude by discussing fine-grained measures of instruction, including tools that rely on automated methods of observation, as an alternative with the potential to overcome many of the fundamental limitations of global protocols.



teacher improvement; instructional methods; observation; educational technology

Full Text:



Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM

Copyright (c) 2020 Sean Kelly

Contact EPAA//AAPE at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College