Classroom observation: a case study in obtrusiveness

by Thomas H. Bikson


Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback58 pages $23.00 $18.40 20% Web Discount

A case study demonstrating an observation method based on an anthropological approach to student behavior data collection is described. It demonstrates the effectiveness of a highly interactive role for the classroom observer. Part I traces the development of a noninteractive method (as exemplified in Risley and Cataldo's PLA-Check) to a highly interactive method (as exemplified in the RANDSIGHT Observation System) that developed from the author's experience as a classroom observer and a trainer of observers. The author argues that the only way not to be disruptive is to interact with the classroom's "ecosystem" so as to become a familiar and nonthreatening part of that environment. The disruption effect varies inversely with the extent of the observer's assimilation into the classroom ecosystem. Part II presents the RANDSIGHT Observation System and shows the results of using an interactive classroom observation method.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.