The Protocol for Language Arts Teaching Observation (PLATO) is used to measure the quality of teaching in English Language Arts (ELA) classrooms and was supported by the William T. Grant and Spencer Foundations’ initiative on measuring classroom quality. Previous studies involving PLATO have demonstrated its ability to identify specific classroom practices that are associated with achievement gains for youth from racial and ethnic minority and low-income backgrounds. Given PLATO’s usefulness for both investigating the quality of ELA instruction and tracking the impact of interventions to reduce disparities in the quality of ELA instruction, Grossman will work with two experienced PLATO trainers to develop a robust online training system to prepare researchers to use this tool. These PLATO trainers have over a decade of experience in working with and training users of the tool. While Grossman and her team have developed a provisional set of online training materials, this project will expand the materials and functions available to trainees. The team seeks to develop video excerpts of observations, cognitive prompts, and support modules for researchers who need intensive support to obtain PLATO certification, which will allow for the reliable use of this tool and support the conduct of future studies to reduce inequality in academic outcomes.
This award will support the creation of an online training tool for researchers to use the Protocol for Language Arts Teaching Observation.