Classroom Observation of Engagement, Disruptive, and Disrespectful Behavior

(COEDD; Volpe, Briesch, & Floyd, 2016)


The COEDD was designed to measure the engaged, disruptive, and disrespectful behavior of children in elementary school, and to obtain an estimate of the number of teacher prompts needed for children to initiate, continue, or discontinue activities. The recommended duration of each COEDD observation is 15 minutes. Based on the extant observational research it is recommended that at least 3 15-min observations be conducted to obtain a reliable estimate of a child’s behavior (Ferguson, Briesch, & Volpe, 2012). Ideally, these observations will occur in similar settings. The COEDD has been designed specifically for use during large-group instruction or independent seatwork.


Coding Instructions:

The categories of the COEDD are coded using 15-second intervals using two sampling methods. The category of Engaged (E) is coded using momentary time sampling, whereas the categories of Disruptive (DB), Disrespectful (D), and Prompts (P) are coded using partial-interval sampling. When using the COEDD, one should alternate between observing the target student and peers in one-minute blocks. It is recommended that estimates of peer behavior be obtained by observing 3 peers of the same gender, who are not sitting next to one another.


Category coded using momentary-time sampling:


Engaged: Engaged is intended to measure times when a child is clearly attending to an assigned task.



Raising hand

Asking teacher a relevant question

Manipulating an object as part of a task (e.g., turning a page), taking out a book when it is appropriate to do so

Writing, using finger to guide reading, using a calculator

Talking to peer about an assigned task when it is appropriate to do so

Looking at the blackboard while the teacher is writing

Looking at a peer when they are answering a question



Talking about nonacademic material (code DB)

Sharpening pencil without having asked permission (code DB)

Child asks teacher a non-relevant question (code DB)

Calling out where inappropriate (code DB)

Aimlessly flipping pages in book

Quietly rummaging through desk

Scribbling on worksheet, drawing pictures when not appropriate

Looking around the room when the teacher is talking

Listening to a peer talk about task irrelevant material

Scribbling on worksheet

Coloring in a worksheet when it is appropriate to do so


**In some circumstances it may be difficult to determine if a child is passively engaged in a brief moment. In such cases it is appropriate to code Engaged if it is determined later in the interval that the child was indeed passively engaged during the onset of the interval.


Categories coded using partial-interval sampling:

Disruptive: is intended to measure instances where a child’s behaviors are potentially distracting others


Drumming on desk

Starts any conversation with another child when not appropriate to do so, or starts a task irrelevant conversation with a child

Loudly tapping foot

Asks a task irrelevant question

Calls out when inappropriate to do so

Throwing an object

Makes a loud noise (scream, loud animal noise, forced burp, smacks ruler on desk)

Clowning around

Says “ooohhhh,” “pick me pick me pick me” while raising hand

Making odd noises while attending to task (e.g., humming while reading)

Child is having a tantrum



Child makes a loud noise by accident (e.g., drops a book on the floor)

Child is quietly whispering to self as they work on a puzzle or project

Coughs due to a cold



Disrespectful: is intended to measure clear instances where a child is engaging in rude, sassy, or smart-alecky behavior directed to, or in response to, the teacher.


Rolling eyes in response to teacher statement

Mocking teacher (Also Code DB)

Muttering under breath (Also Code DB)

Talking back (Also Code DB)

Arguing (Also Code DB)


Non-Examples (note: some non-examples would be considered Engaged if occurring during momentary time sample):

Asking a relevant follow-up question

Talking to peers (Code DB)

Clowning around (Code DB)

Making odd noises while attending to task (e.g., humming while reading) (Code DB)



Prompts: is intended to measure instances in which the teacher provides the target student with individualized prompts or reminders to initiate, continue, or discontinue activities


Asking student to begin working on assignment

“Johnny, please take out your worksheet”

“Peter, you need to get back to work”

“Jenny, I need you to turn around in your seat”

“Sam, it’s time to put those materials away”



“Johnny, keep up the good work”

“Class, I need you to take out your worksheet”

“Peter, make sure to check your work”

“Jenny, you’re doing such a nice job with your story”