Observing a Culture of Student Independence: The COSI Protocol

Toolkit Item Overview

Our cohort developed the Culture of Student Independence (COSI) observation protocol to measure student and teacher actions in order to help quantify the usage of resources by students. Many cohorts in this project found many problems of practice surrounding the issue of student ownership and independence. What resources do students turn to for help? Do they take ownership and choose resources when solving problems and investigating ideas or do they rely on help from others? The COSI observation protocol stands to bring objective data into the conversation.

Courses beyond high school require students to learn more independently than they typically experience in earlier learning. The COSI protocol provides information to determine student independence.

Resources Used to Inform this Toolkit

We grounded our perspective in learning theories that emphasize interactions between students and other actors or objects (Vygotsky, 1978; Pea, 1997).

We studied the design of other observation protocols in math ed and science ed (Boston et al., 2015; Judson, 2013; Erdogan et al., 2010; Smith et al., 2015; Forbes et al., 2013) In order to decide what types of measurements to make and how best to measure them.

We used a grounded theory approach (Strauss and Corbin, 1998) to define the phenomena we wanted to measure.

We used videos of high school classrooms (from TIMSS and from our own collections) to help create, modify, and calibrate the COSI protocol.

Key Lessons We’ve Learned

We developed both an electronic and paper version of the COSI protocol. Through iCODA, data can be collected digitally and displayed in color coded timelines. The paper version became the preferred medium as it allowed for greater analysis time while coding. That is, using iCODA tended to rush the observer into pressing a coding button as soon as possible whereas the paper version allowed for more time to decide how to code observed behaviors.

Comprehensive Guide to Utilizing Our Tool in Your Classroom

Meet Our Cohort

Our Problem of Practice and Common Core State Standards

Literature Review


Design Cycles

Definitions of Code

Final Consensus of Reliability

What We’ve Learned

Download Complete Final Report