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A Coding Rubric for Measuring the Quality of Mathematics in Instruction


"What mathematical knowledge do teachers need to successfully work with students, and how do we know when they have it? ...Teachers' performance on pencil-and-paper assessments (or oral interview tasks) may or may not correlate with what they can actually do with real-life content, materials, and students. Yet observational studies, which have historically been used to study the nature of mathematical knowledge used in classrooms, have not to date been designed to provide reliable estimates for large numbers of individual teachers.

Because of a growing need among researchers to study changes in the mathematical quality of teachers' practice, we argue for an observation-based instrument that can quantify the quality of the mathematics in instruction. ...

This technical report is intended mainly for potential users of the instrument, to introduce this audience to our theoretical foundation, codes, and procedures. We begin with a review of past and contemporary uses of observation to understand teachers' knowledge, including a description of our needs in this arena. We discuss our specific codes and coding protocol, the development of our instrument, and suggest some directions for analysis. We review our early findings, then consider issues related to the adoption and use of this instrument in different locations."

The Coding Instrument is available online: