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,
Teacher Knowledge,
Teacher Skills,
Teacher Beliefs,
Teacher Self-Efficacy

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

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

National Sample

Access and Use

Peer-Reviewed Study Citations

Alston, C., & Brown, M. T. (2015). Differences in Intellectual Challenge of Writing Tasks among Higher and Lower Value-Added English Language Arts Teachers. Teachers College Record, 117(5)

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 Researcher.


Manual scoring
Open Access
Used in Peer-Reviewed Research
Psychometric Citations

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.

Grossman, P., Cohen, J., & Brown, L. (2014). Understanding Instructional Quality in English Language Arts: Variations in PLATO Scores by Content and Context. In T. J. Kane, K. A. Kerr, R. C. Pianta (Eds.), Designing Teacher Evaluation Systems: New Guidance from the Measures of Effective Teaching Project. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

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.