On the Cutting Edge - Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty
Classroom Observation Project
Understanding and Improving our Teaching using the Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol (RTOP)
Cutting Edge > Classroom Observation Project > Interpreting your RTOP Scores > How are RTOP Scores Determined?

How are RTOP Scores Determined?

In order to ensure consistent application of the RTOP instrument, we used a scoring rubric developed by Kaatje Kraft and David Budd (as part of the GARNET project) that had been field tested in approximately 40 classes. The original GARNET scoring rubric was modified and calibrated by the group through an iterative series of video and face-to-face class observations to arrive at a final scoring rubric that would be applied by all participants in classes during the spring 2011 semester. The research team members observed from 1-5 classes each for a total of 34 class observations.

To assess the inter-rater reliability of the research team after the initial round of observations, all team members scored a video of an introductory geology course taught by a community college instructor. Scores on the video ranged from 26-52 with a mean score of 35.8 with a standard deviation of 7.6 (Figure 1).

How the Researchers Scored their Observations

Considering the various subscales, the group consistently ranked propositional knowledge high. The scores were less consistent in lesson design and implementation and procedural knowledge (Figure 2). These results lead us to focus additional attention on those individual RTOP items that showed the greatest variation among observers on a series of shared class reviews.

The initial round of 34 class observations provided a range of scores from 14-79. The average score was 39.9 with a standard deviation of 16. For comparison, during the development of the RTOP instrument, observations were conducted in 40 science classrooms, yielding a mean score of 58.25 and a standard deviation of 21.3. Consequently, our initial analyses, using a specific rubric, yields results that are consistent with those of the original RTOP instrument.

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