Protocol for Language Arts Teaching Observation (PLATO)

The Protocol for Language Arts Teaching Observations (PLATO) is a classroom observation protocol designed to evaluate thirteen elements of English Language Arts (ELA) instruction. It was originally developed for a study of the relationship between teachers' classroom practices and their impact on student achievement. It is currently being used as a professional development tool to support teachers' use of rigorous, research-based teaching practices. PLATO is designed to work across a variety of curricula and instructional approaches.


Classroom Instruction
3rd Grade,
4th Grade,
5th Grade,
6th Grade,
7th Grade,
8th Grade,
9th Grade

Administration Information

12 elements that are scored in 15-minute segments. Length of scoring is 8 minutes in live observations. Videos may be paused in video-based scoring. A minimum of 4 visits per teacher (with the first and last visit occuring a week apart) is recommended in

Access and Use


Online training pricing is $650 per person; some bulk discounts available. Contact CSET for additional information.

Open Access
Use in Research

Alston, C., & Brown, M. (2015). Differences in intellectual challenge of writing tasks among higher and lower value-added English Language Arts teachers. Teachers College Record117(5), 1-24.

Grossman, P., Cohen, J., Ronfeldt, M., & Brown, L. (2014). The test matters: The relationship between classroom observation scores and teacher value added on multiple types of assessment. Educational Researcher43(6), 293-303.


Manual scoring
Psychometric References

Ronfeldt, M., & Truwit, M. (2023). Considerations for use of teaching quality measures. EdInstruments Brief, Annenberg Institute for School Reform, Brown University.

Psychometric Considerations

Psychometrics is the science of psychological assessment. A primary goal of EdInstruments is to provide information on crucial psychometric topics including Validity and Reliability – essential concepts of evaluation, which indicate how well an instrument measures a construct - as well as additional properties that are worthy of consideration when selecting an instrument of measurement.

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