Welcome to the IPI Website for the Study of Student Engagement!

The Instructional Practices Inventory is a teacher-led process for (a) collecting data about student cognitive engagement during class time, (b) organizing the data into user-friendly profiles, and (c) leading faculty collaborative study of the data so classroom teachers can more effectively design and implement quality learning experiences for their students. 

The IPI was developed in 1995-96 to be a component of a multi-year Comprehensive, Systemic School Improvement (CSSI) initiative for 10 elementary, 10 middle, and 10 high schools in the state of Missouri. The developers (Jerry Valentine and Bryan Painter) used the process with those 30 schools from November 1996 until May 1998.  From the teacher responses and analyzed findings of that project, it was evident that the IPI could become a valuable tool for instructional improvement.  Valentine continued to use and refine the process as well as study the impact of the process on student achievement. Analyses of the IPI data from the thousands schools across the U.S. that have used the IPI Process since 1996 continue to be made, with findings from such studies guiding the ongoing refinement of the process and the recommended strategies for how to best collect and study the IPI data.

Use of the IPI Process has grown steadily since its original development in the mid-nineties.  As of this writing, the IPI is entering its 22nd year of service to schools.  More than 38,800 educators across more than half of the US states and Australia have successfully completed the basic IPI Level I Workshop, preparing and certifying them to implement the process in their schools.  When schools implement the process, they are asked to send their IPI Profiles to Professor Valentine who archives their data and then enters the data (anonymously) into large data sets so the immediate and long term impact of the Process can be studied.  From our research, both through the University of Missouri studies and those of educators outside of MU, we have learned that when the IPI Process is implemented with integrity, it positively impacts the frequency of Higher-Order/Deeper thinking during class time and it reduces the amount of student disengagement during class time.  Once faculty know the percentages of time students spend in Higher-Order/Deeper Thinking, Lower-Order/Surface Thinking, and Disengagement, they can set school-wide goals and develop a PD growth plan to accomplish their goals. 

To be certificated in the use of the IPI Process, the teacher leaders and the principals of schools using the IPI must complete the basic IPI workshop. The full-day workshop is designed to build the IPI Team's capacity to collect the student engagement data with validity, reliability, and inter-rater reliability; to understand how to organize the data for faculty study; and to develop key strategies for engaging their faculty colleagues in collaborative study of the data. Simply put, the school’s IPI Team of teacher leaders is responsible for leading the process in the school while the school and district administrators effectively support the work of the IPI Team. Our studies indicate that teacher-led data collection and collaborative study of the data at least three and preferably four times a year can have a positive, significant impact on student engagement and higher-order/deeper thinking during class time. Clearly, implementation of the process with integrity is associated with increased student academic success, including high-stakes assessments.

Experienced educators know there are no quick-fixes that will improve learning opportunities for students, no set pattern of strategies, nor any unique tools or combination of tools and strategies that will guarantee enhanced student learning (and thus improve student academic success). There are no quick fixes or solutions to improving student learning and there are no “one size fits all recipes” for school reform. Educators understand that improvement in student academic success is slow to evolve and extremely difficult to sustain. The IPI is but one of many processes that a school can use in its combined efforts to improve academic success for the school’s students, just as the IPI was one of many components in the CSSI project for which it was originally developed. The IPI is unique because it provides valuable engagement data profiles for collaborative faculty study and learning.  As noted by the Southeast Regional Educational Laboratory’s 2011 (Measuring Student Engagement in Upper Elementary through High School: A Study of 21 Instruments, Fredericks, et. al., Report REL 2011 No. 098, Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast, http/ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs) study of student engagement, the IPI is one of the very few valid, observational tools available to schools that has been researched and documented as positively impacting student engagement.  

The IPI data also provide the basis for understanding the success of other initiatives to improve learning that are in place, or that will be put in place across the school. Initiatives designed to improve academic success should simultaneously impact student engagement register over time in the IPI Profiles. Thus, the IPI data can serve as outcome variables to help a faculty understand the impact of new initiatives, programs and program changes, professional development, and changes in instructional support structures. The influence of those instructional interventions should be evident in the school's longitudinal cognitive engagement IPI data profiles. If such interventions are not positively impacting student cognitive engagement, faculty and school leaders can celebrate their successes or question why the interventions are not having a positive impact on student cognitive engagement.  

The IPI is based on six categories of engagement. The categories are not complex, but they are sophisticated enough to address key learning issues. Two categories provide data about higher-order/deeper thinking, another about teacher-led/directed engagement, two others about student work that is not higher-order/deeper (referred to as lower-order/surface in the IPI terminology) and typically focused on skill and recall, and a final category that provides data about student disengagement during class time.

With more than two decades of data collection and study under our belt, we have learned that the IPI can be a viable strategy to enhance the quality of student cognitive engagement during class time. If your school is already an IPI Process user, I invite you to explore the readings and supplemental implementation strategies found in the IPI and IPI-T sections of this website, specifically the section for “Workshop Participants.” If you are new to the IPI Process, I invite you to explore the other sections of this website and read about the categories and the processes for collecting and studying engagement as a faculty.

If you browse this website over time, you will notice that the "themes" featured on the home page will remain rather constant, but the stories will change periodically. When a more recent featured story replaces a previous story or a new research study replaces a prior study, the former will be maintained for reference in the Archives Section. The basic home-page themes are:

Recent News and Thoughts

Stories from IPI Schools

The IPI Technology Component

Research Findings and Implications

Recommended Resources and Readings

This IPI website went live in October of 2012. I trust it will be useful to those who wish to understand our work on student engagement and improve student engagement in the classroom. As is the case throughout education, we will learn as we move forward and share what we learn through this site. Thus, this website will be in a constant state of revision to make it as useful as possible. Please feel free to share your feedback about how I can make the site more valuable to you and your school. My email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 Any useful website is a “work in progress” and all websites require an investment of time that is sometimes difficult to find. Forgive the sections that might still be labeled as “Under Construction.”   If you are not able to find information you are curious about re our student engagement work, don’t hesitate to email me.   

Jerry Valentine

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January 2018