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Vanth Observation System Component Assessment

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1422.1 - 11.1422.8



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Paper Authors


Monica Cox Purdue University

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Monica Farmer Cox is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She received her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, her M.S. in Industrial Engineering at the University of Alabama, and her B.S. in Mathematics at Spelman College. Her research interests include teaching and learning in engineering education; engineering faculty and student development; and assessment and evaluation of engineering curricula, faculty pedagogy, student learning, student retention, and student engagement within engineering courses.

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Alene Harris Purdue University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

VaNTH Observation System Component Assessment Abstract- Since 1999, the VaNTH Observation System (VOS), a direct classroom observation system, has been used to collect data about classroom activities within bioengineering courses. Two components of the VOS, the Classroom Interaction Observation and the Global Ratings, specifically collect data about whether observed courses contain elements of the “How People Learn” (HPL) framework, as set forth in the National Research Council publication How People Learn: Mind, Brain, Experience, and School.1 VOS observers use the Classroom Interaction Observation to collect information about the types of interactions that occur between faculty and students and among students within a course, and observers use the Global Ratings to evaluate summatively the elements of a course. Although several semesters of data have been collected at two of the universities, the validity of the VOS has not been assessed. To evaluate the validity of the VOS, five validity studies were conducted. Two content validity studies examined the extent to which eleven education content experts judged the elements of the HPL framework to be present within the Classroom Interaction Observation and Global Ratings components of the VOS, respectively. A convergent validity study noted the extent to which sampled Classroom Interaction Observation data collected in live classes correlated with full-class period Classroom Interaction Observation data collected in videotapes of those same classes. A second convergent validity study reported correlations between two different Classroom Interaction Observation assessment methods. Finally, a criterion validity study evaluated how well a newly-developed HPL Index classified Classroom Interaction Observation data within bioengineering courses that were designated as either traditional or nontraditional courses. This paper provides overviews of each validity study.


Since 1999, the VaNTH Observation System (VOS), a direct classroom observation system, has been used to collect data about classroom activities within bioengineering courses.2 Developed from the Stallings Observation System, which registers the presence and absence of over 600 in-class student and teacher behaviors and activities within K-12 classrooms,3,4,5 the VOS data has been used to assess curricular changes that are based upon the “How People Learn” (HPL) framework within postsecondary engineering classrooms in the VaNTH Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Bioengineering Educational Technology.

In an effort to improve instruction and learning within bioengineering courses, faculty worked to implement effective classroom learning practices as demonstrated within the HPL framework. This framework is comprised of four dimensions that, when used together, enhance students’ academic experiences and optimize learning.1 The four dimensions represent activities that are learner-centered (i.e., students’ prior experiences and misconceptions are factored into how course content is presented), assessment-centered (i.e., formative and summative assessment techniques are used to provide opportunities for students and faculty to receive feedback), knowledge-centered (i.e., lecture material is organized and presented so that students develop deep understanding of course concepts) and community-centered (e.g., students engage in collaborative learning within the classroom).

Cox, M., & Harris, A. (2006, June), Vanth Observation System Component Assessment Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1027

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