Student Engagement is Measurable

September 25, 2014

Measuring student engagement in classrooms can be a daunting task for researchers. While traditional methods for classroom observations aim to unobtrusively observe student behavior and attitude, the problem is that not all students or behaviors are observed equally, and the process is often subjective or biased.

student engaged in Reasoning Mind
A big smile is also one indicator of student engagement.subjective or biased.

One method, however, is designed to limit subjectivity and provide structure to the observing process.

In 2004, Drs. Ryan Baker from the Teachers College, Columbia University and Mercedes Rodrigo from Ateneo de Manila University  developed the Baker Rodrigo Ocumpaugh Method Protocol (BROMP) for quantifiable field observations to achieve more precise results in measuring student engagement. The BROMP method reduces bias and ensures that every student is given the same amount of attention.

Here are the basics of BROMP:

  • BROMP reduces bias by using a structured observation process where each student is observed for 5-20 seconds in a pre-set order that repeats several times over the course of a lesson. Students are observed as many as 30-40 times throughout the class period.
  • Observers record the first behavior and emotional state they see in each student. To come to these conclusions, observers note students’ facial expressions, body language, and speech, as well as feedback from teachers, computers, or other students.
  • Students are observed for the following behaviors: on-task, on-task conversation, teacher intervention, or off-task.
  • Students are observed for the following emotional states: engaged concentration, boredom, confusion, frustration, or delight. These emotional states shed insight on the quality of engagement students are experiencing.

With BROMP, researchers are empowered to form solid conclusions about students’ engagement levels. Find out more at our free student engagement webinar with Dr. Ryan Baker on Oct. 7 at 8 a.m. Pacific Time.

Post by Stephanie Li, PRIME Fellow

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