Research and Publications

Pilot Project in New York City, 2007-08

In late 2007, Dr. Grossman's research team at Stanford began a pilot study using the newly developed PLATO instrument in New York City middle schools. This study of classroom practices in English/Language Arts grew out of a longitudinal study of teacher preparation in New York City. The study included both qualitative and quantitative data, supplementing the scored PLATO observation cycles with open-ended observation notes, teacher interviews, and samples of student work. Twenty-four teachers from nine schools participated in this pilot project.


Grossman, P., Loeb, S., Cohen, J., & Wyckoff, J. (2013). Measure for measure: The relationship between measures of instructional practice in middle school English language arts and teachers’ value-added scores. American Journal of Education. 119(3), 445-470. (download)

Cohen, J. & Brown, M. (Under review). Teaching quality across school settings. The New Educator.

Alston, C. & Brown, M. (Under review). Differences in intellectual challenge of writing tasks among higher and lower value-added English Language Arts teachers. Teachers College Record.

Follow-up Study in New York City, 2008-09

Based on the results of the pilot study, and encouraged by other researchers in the field, the Stanford team embarked on a much larger study of New York City middle school ELA teaching practices. This study was collected data from 177 teachers in 12 schools.


Cor, K. (2011). The measurement properties of the PLATO rubric. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA. (download)

Grossman, P. & Cohen, J. (2011). Of cabbages and kings?: Classroom observations and value-added measures. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA. (download)

Teaching as Leadership- Teach for America, 2009

TFA trained a small group of observers in summer 2009 to use PLATO for evaluating the effectiveness of various ELA classroom practices. For more information on the TAL rubric, please visit the Teaching as Leadership website.

Understanding Teacher Quality- Educational Testing Service, 2009

In the summer of 2009 the PLATO team trained a group of observers working for ETS on a larger project evaluating classroom practices. For details and findings from the project visit the Understanding Teacher Quality website.

Measures of Effective Teaching, Gates Foundation, 2009-2013

Beginning in late 2009 the PLATO team partnered with The Gates Foundation, Teachscape, ETS, and other partner institutions on a large-scale nationwide field study called Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) project. A number of studies that include PLATO can be found at the Measures of Effective Teaching website.


Grossman, P., Cohen, J., & Brown, L. (In press). Understanding instructional quality in English Language Arts: Variations in the relationship between PLATO and value-added by content and context. In K.Kerr, R. Pianta, & T. Kane (Eds.), Measures of Effective Teaching Research Volume. (download)

Grossman, P., Cohen, J., Ronfeldt, M., & Brown, L. (Under review). The test matters: The relationship between classroom observation scores and teacher value-added on multiple types of assessment. Manuscript submitted for publication. Educational Researcher. (download)

PLATO Professional Development Project, 2011-2013

This project focuses on the use of PLATO for professional development of middle school ELA teachers in San Francisco. Project objectives include: developing professional development materials associated with PLATO, identifying elements of ELA instruction for targeted improvement, providing professional development around these elements, assessing changes in ELA instruction that occur, and assessing changes in student achievement in ELA. The study measures changes in classroom practice through structured observations in teachers’ classrooms throughout their participation in this project. Student learning has been measured through standardized achievement scores and samples of student writing.