Low Inference Discussion Observation (LIDO)

The Low Inference Discussion Observation (LIDO) instrument provides a portrait of the quantity and nature of discussion occurring during normal classroom practice. The LIDO is not a measure of discussion quality, but rather of the presence of a variety of teacher and student discourse moves that can reasonably be assumed to index dialogic interaction. Many classroom discussion tools ask observers to use Likert-type scales to rate the degree to which classrooms display various global dimensions such as “engagement” and “authentic response” that require observers to make judgements or inferences. In contrast, the LIDO uses a relatively low-inference method of counting instances of well-known conversational ‘moves’ by students and teachers. For example, teacher moves include those specifically thought to support student transactivity (Berkowitz & Gibbs, 1985). Transactivity involves a focus on reasoning, and entails that the speaker is focusing on the reasoning of others. The teacher moves include using open questions or prompting students to respond to others’ reasoning, and 4 others. Student moves include addressing another student, providing reasoning or evidence to support a claim, and 3 others.

Audio recordings, video recordings, or transcripts can be scored with the LIDO by trained, reliable coders. The LIDO scores include two overall scores (Logit scores) that summarize the teacher talk and student talk count data, as well as scores for individual, specific talk moves, such as a teacher's use of open questions, which is uncommon in classroom interaction measures and highly useful for informing practice.


This site was originally prepared for districts and teachers who partnered with us throughout the project. While we have updated the text, many of the videos included on this site were prepared during the launch of the study. Although the project has come to a close, we are keeping the site and related videos available for those who are interested to learn more about the project.

The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305F100026 to the Strategic Education Research Partnership as part of the Reading for Understanding Research Initiative. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.

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Catalyzing Comprehension through Discussion and Debate (CCDD)