Preparation, type of instruction, and teacher judgments of academic engagement

Sylvana Marie Rinaldi, Fordham University


This study examined whether preparation would enhance a teacher's ability to retrospectively judge student academic engagement. This preparation asked teachers to consciously attend to their own behavior in observing and subsequently judging, through their ratings, student engagement behavior. Information about the concept, importance, and measurement of academic engagement was provided to the teachers as a part of the preparation. It was further hypothesized that teacher judgments would vary as a consequence of the differing characteristics of direct instruction and seatwork and the subsequent demands for and available allotment of attention during each type of instruction. Twenty teachers participated in the study, 10 of whom were randomly assigned to the prepared (or experimental) group and 10 of whom were randomly assigned to the unprepared (or control) group. A total of 80 observations of elementary school students in grades one through five were conducted by trained data collectors on the Engaged Time Observation Instrument (ETOI) during the conditions of direct instruction and seatwork. The ETOI used a point-time sampling technique for measuring the level of a student's engagement in the learning process. The prepared and unprepared teachers retrospectively judged student academic engagement on the Teacher Observation Rating Form (TORF) at the conclusion of each student observation. The TORF required that the teacher circle the percentage of time, delineated in intervals of 10 and ranging from 0 to 100, that the youngster was on task during direct instruction or seatwork. The results of the study lent support to the possible enhancing effects of teacher preparation when rating student engagement during seatwork. By preparing the teacher, the correlations between the TORF and the ETOI were influenced significantly. The results further suggested that without further preparation, teachers' retrospections were of questionable use in measuring the degree to which children were engaged in their academic work.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Rinaldi, Sylvana Marie, "Preparation, type of instruction, and teacher judgments of academic engagement" (1994). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9511243.