Refining, Operationalizing, and Describing Scientific Inquiry Instructional Practice Using the Inquiring into Science Instruction Observation Protocol (ISIOP): A National Field Test

Principal Investigator: 
Project Overview
Background & Purpose: 

This three-year project will develop a training manual and facilitate a national field test of the Inquiring into Science Instruction Observation Protocol (ISIOP) to improve the measurement technology and tools for capturing variation in scientific inquiry instruction via classroom observation.


National field test in middle school science classrooms.

Research Design: 

The research design for this project is cross-sectional, and is designed to generate evidence that is descriptive (using observation), and associative through the methodological work of interrater agreement, and scale development. This project collects original data using personal observation and videography, and survey research including paper and pencil self-completion questionnaire, face-to-face structured interviewer-administered questionnaire, and telephone semi-structured/informal interviews. This project is an instrument development project which currently does not have a publicly released reference to the instrument since it is still being developed. For further information please contact Daphne Minner, project PI. The training materials will include video of instruction and accompanying completed coding protocols so that new users can develop reliability on the ISIOP before going to use it live in a classroom.

The analysis plan includes a two-step process: (1) determine the Kappa coefficients for interrater reliability across a group of 40 observers/evaluators to focus on item level clarity in the protocol, and (2) use Rasch modeling to explore how well the ISIOP items, and conceptually based coding rubrics differentiate high and low scientific inquiry classrooms.


To date this project has not generated any findings.

Other Products: 

The products to be generated from the project include (1) an observation protocol and scoring rubrics that have been tested for usability and utility across a range of science education program evaluators in various settings; (2) a user’s manual that clearly describes the development process, the derivation of the evidence of reliability and validity, procedural information for using and scoring the protocol, guidelines for establishing interrater reliability using the included videotaped examples of teaching, and suggestions about how to coordinate the use of the ISIOP with other instruments to produce a comprehensive research or evaluation plan; and (3) articles submitted for publication to peer-reviewed journals that not only describe the evidence of utility of the instrument but also make transparent the arduous and conceptually challenging process of developing educational research instruments and tools.