Publications & Resources

Using Artifacts to Describe Instruction: Lessons Learned from Studying Reform-Oriented Instruction in Middle School Mathematics and Science

Jan 2007

Brian Stecher, Hilda Borko, Karin L. Kuffner, Felipe Martinez, Suzanne C. Arnold, Dionne Barnes, Laura Creighton, and Mary Lou Gilbert

It is important to be able to describe instructional practices accurately in order to support research on “what works” in education and professional development as a basis for efforts to improve practice. This report describes a project to develop procedures for characterizing classroom practices in mathematics and science on the basis of collected classroom artifacts. A data collection tool called the “Scoop Notebook” was used to gather classroom artifacts (e.g., lesson plans, instructional materials, student work) and teacher reflections. Scoring guides were developed for rating the Notebooks (and observed classroom behaviors) along ten dimensions of reform-oriented practice in mathematics and science. Field studies were conducted in middle school science and mathematics classrooms to collect information about the reliability, validity, and feasibility of the Scoop Notebook as a measure of classroom practice. The studies yielded positive results, indicating that the Scoop Notebooks and associated scoring guides have promise for providing accurate representations of selected aspects of classroom practice. The report summarizes these results and discusses lessons learned about artifact collection and scoring procedures.

Stecher, B., Borko, H., Kuffner, K. L., Martinez, F., Arnold, S. C., Barnes, D., … Gilbert, M. L. (2007). Using artifacts to describe instruction: Lessons learned from studying reform-oriented instruction in middle school mathematics and science (CSE Report 705). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).