OBSERVATION OF CLASSROOM CLIMATE: THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN OBSERVATIONAL TOOL

CAROLYN JANE KEELER, Marquette University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to develop an instrument for use by an observer to determine the classroom climate for learning. Classroom climate has been shown to have an impact upon student learning outcomes, in that students in a positive classroom climate learn more and have positive attitudes toward school. The teacher is the most influential person in the classroom, and can be viewed as the climate setter, although other factors do influence climate. Most instruments used for climate assessment sample the participants' perceptions about climate. The instrument developed for this study, the Classroom Climate Observational Instrument, was designed to assess teacher actions that influence the classroom climate for learning. It was designed for an observer, usually the building principal, to use. The content of the Classroom Climate Observational Instrument (CCOI) was based on Halpin and Croft's Organizational Climate Description Questionnaire (OCDQ). The OCDQ assessed four areas of teacher behavior: disengagement, hindrance, esprit, and intimacy; and four areas of principal behavior: aloofness, production emphasis, thrust, and consideration. These constructs were redefined for the CCOI in terms of teacher behaviors in the classroom. Seventeen four-point scales were developed that describe teacher behavior from more closed to more open. Observers then matched teachers' actions with behaviors described in each of the scales. A total rank for each teacher was then placed on a continuum from closed to open. This instrument was examined by experts in the field for content validity. It was also field tested. Two trained observers used the CCOI in each of 32 classrooms. Scores of the two observers were correlated to determine inter-observer reliability, yielding a correlation coefficient of r = 94. This strong correlation indicated that trained observers were able to observe and rank teacher actions in the same way. Students in each of the 32 classrooms completed the My Class Inventory (MCI), an instrument used to assess student perceptions about their climate. The MCI yields five scales: difficulty, satisfaction, competition, cohesiveness, and friction. Scores from the CCOI were correlated with mean class scores for each scale of the MCI to determine if observers and students viewed the class in a similar manner. Trend level agreement was found with the difficulty and competition scales.

Recommended Citation

CAROLYN JANE KEELER, "OBSERVATION OF CLASSROOM CLIMATE: THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN OBSERVATIONAL TOOL" (January 1, 1986). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. Paper AAI8708750.
http://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations/AAI8708750

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