The ISI classroom observation system: Examining the literacy instruction provided to individual students

Carol McDonald Connor, Frederick J. Morrison, Barry J. Fishman, Claire Cameron Ponitz, Stephanie Glasney, Phyllis S. Underwood, Shayne B. Piasta, Elizabeth Coyne Crowe, Christopher Schatschneider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

81 Scopus citations


The Individualizing Student Instruction (ISI) classroom observation and coding system is designed to provide a detailed picture of the classroom environment at the level of the individual student. Using a multidimensional conceptualization of the classroom environment, foundational elements (teacher warmth and responsiveness to students, classroom management) and instructional elements (teacher-child interactions, context, and content) are described. The authors have used the ISI system to document that children who share the same classroom have very different learning opportunities, that instruction occurs through interactions among teachers and students, and that the effect of this instruction depends on children's language and literacy skills. This means that what is effective for one child may be ineffective for another with different skills. With improving classroom observation systems, the dynamics of the complex classroom environment as it affects student learning can be better understood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-99
Number of pages15
JournalEducational Researcher
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes



  • Classroom management
  • Classroom research
  • Literacy
  • Reading
  • School/teacher effectiveness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

Cite this

Connor, C. M., Morrison, F. J., Fishman, B. J., Ponitz, C. C., Glasney, S., Underwood, P. S., Piasta, S. B., Crowe, E. C., & Schatschneider, C. (2009). The ISI classroom observation system: Examining the literacy instruction provided to individual students. Educational Researcher, 38(2), 85-99.