About the UTOP

The UTeach Observation Protocol (UTOP) for Mathematics and Science is an observational instrument that can be used to assess the overall quality of classroom instruction in math and science from kindergarten to the undergraduate level. The UTOP was designed to allow individuals to evaluate teaching effectiveness while valuing different modes of instruction. We have specifically considered instruction in a spectrum from inquiry-based instruction to direct instruction.

The UTOP was created and piloted by faculty, master teachers, and research assistants in the UTeach College of Natural Sciences program at the University of Texas Austin.[1]

The development of UTOP was informed by the following resources:

  • National Council for the Teaching of Mathematics: Principles and Standards for School Mathematics
  • National Academy of Science: National Science Education Standards
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science: Project 2061, Benchmarks for Scientific Literacy
  • National Research Council: How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School and Knowing What Students Know
  • Arizona Collaborative for Excellence in the Preparation of Teachers: Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol
  • Horizon Research’s Inside the Classroom Observation Protocol and Study

Further revisions of the UTOP have been informed by the following:

  • Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (2012)
  • Framework for K–12 Science Education (2011)
  • Next Generation Science Standards Framework (2012)
  • Feedback from UTOP workshop training participants (July 2012–May 2013)

[1] Those involved in creating and piloting the UTOP for Mathematics and Science include Mary Walker, Gail Dickinson, Mark Daniels, Denise Ekberg, Kelli Allen, Larry Abraham, Michael Marder, Candace Walkington, Prerna Arora, Jessica Gordon, and Shasta Ihorn. Audrey De Zeeuw and Paige Bauerkemper have assisted in further revisions.