How We Know Our Students Are 96 Percent On-Task

September 26, 2014

Walk into a blended learning classroom and you may see students staring fixedly at their computer screens, tapping away on the keyboard as they work through lessons and problem sets.

But how do you know if students are actually doing their work and not just gaming the system or browsing the internet?

BROMP provides an objective analysis of students' engagement with their digital curricula.
The BROMP method provides an objective analysis of students’ engagement with their digital curricula.

To find out if students are on task while using the Reasoning Mind math program, we partnered researchers to measure student engagement among sixth-graders in Harlandale ISD, Texas, over the full class period.

The results were astounding: on average, 96 percent of 118 students in the Reasoning Mind classroom were on-task. In the traditional classroom, only 66 percent of 95 students were on-task.

We noticed similar results when we observed elementary school students working with Reasoning Mind. In a separate study, we observed around 300 2nd-4th graders across three schools in the Texas Gulf Coast region and found that 89 percent of students were either on-task or engaged in on-task conversation while 10 percent were off-task. One percent of students were observed to be gaming the system, or passively clicking through.

How do we know?  Drs. Ryan Baker and Mercedes Rodrigo (Teachers College, Columbia University and Ateneo de Manila University) first developed what is now known as the Baker Rodrigo Ocumpaugh Method Protocol (BROMP), a quantitative method for field observations of student engagement.  BROMP-certified observers follow strict coding procedures for sampling behavioral and emotional states that are relevant to learning contexts.

Want to know more? Drs. Ryan Baker and Jaclyn Occumpaugh are giving a free webinar on student engagement in the digital age on Oct. 7 at 8 a.m. Pacific Time. 

Have tips for engaging students in the classroom? Share your ideas and strategies with us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, or Google+!

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