The TRU Domain-General and Mathematics-Specific Observation Guides

The TRU Observation Guides, also available in domain general and mathematics-specific versions, are designed to support planning for, conducting, and debriefing classroom observations.

The fundamental idea underlying TRU is that what counts in instruction is how the student experiences the content. This is summarized in the following figure, which highlights the key aspects of instruction from the student’s point of view.
Observation Guide

The observation guides adopt this perspective. As with the conversation guides, the intention is to support collaborative conversations. Prior to an observation, teacher and observer discuss the lesson plan and decide on the main points of focus for the observation. The observation might be comprehensive – it is possible for a practiced observer to take notes on all five dimensions. Alternatively, the teacher and observer might agree to focus on one or two areas the teacher wants to address in detail.

The form of the observation guide and the way it’s used are straightforward. Each observation sheet is one page long and focuses on one dimension of the framework. The observation sheet summarizes key aspects of the dimension and key goals for students, along with a sample list of “look fors” (signs that things are going well) for students and the teacher. That information orients the observer to “what counts” in that dimension. Teacher and observer may decide on lesson-specific or student-specific observation goals in addition. There is also space for note-taking on the form. The math-specific guide can be found here. The domain-general guide can be found here.

Next Page: Tools from the Mathematics Assessment Project, including Formative Assessment Lessons, Summative Assessment Tasks and Tests, and draft PD modules.