About OLOS in Nebraska

As part of the nationwide Early Learning Network, Learning Frontiers researchers are partnering with Nebraska schools to improve student outcomes and strengthen student-teacher relationships using OLOS, a user-friendly observational tool.

OLOS in Nebraska has powerful potential to help teachers personalize instruction to meet children’s unique learning needs as they transition from preschool to third grade — particularly in the state’s small, rural and parochial schools and districts.


OLOS in Nebraska Recruitment Flyer

What is OLOS?

Optimizing Learning Opportunities for Student Observation System, or OLOS, was developed by the Early Learning Network’s assessment team at the University of California, Irvine. The tool is being piloted and tested in the network’s nationwide studies, including Learning Frontiers in Nebraska.

OLOS is a web-based observational tool designed to help preschool through third grade teachers understand more about what’s happening in their classrooms and how to best meet children’s learning needs.

How it Works

OLOS provides real-time feedback on children’s academic progress and teachers’ instructional practices. It also collects data on structural features, classroom processes and instruction quality.

Observers record:

  • Teachers’ instructional behaviors
  • Teacher-child interactions
  • Overall classroom learning environment

Together with A2i (Assessment to Instruction), OLOS offers individualized instructional guidance to improve children’s language, literacy, math and self-regulation skills.

Why it Matters

Children learn differently. Each student brings a distinct set of skills, languages, perspectives to school and may experience different learning opportunities — even within same classroom. A one-size-fits-all approach to instruction may put some students at a disadvantage.

OLOS advances our understanding of how to personalize instruction to meet each child’s specific needs and to identify broader strategies for promoting learning in diverse early childhood settings.

This tool has potential to help ensure Nebraska’s children meet grade-level expectations, particularly among small, rural and parochial schools and districts.

What We’re Learning

Preliminary findings suggest:

  • There is strong evidence of the OLOS system’s ability to capture differences in individual children’s learning experiences.
  • There is substantial variability both within and between classrooms. This supports the idea that children, even in the same classroom, may be having widely variable instructional experiences.
  • There is a lot of variation in the amount of time spent on literacy.
  • Overall, there is a lot of variation in instructional experiences among individual children.

Analysis provided by the UC-Irvine assessment team. Learn more about OLOS

Stakeholder Perspectives

Taffeta Wood

"OLOS is an invaluable tool to support teachers' view of their own classroom practices at the level of each individual student. Not only can teachers see what opportunities are being offered by the instruction, they can also see what each student is doing with those opportunities. This allows for reflection and planning that better personalizes instruction for each student according to different needs and goals."

—Taffeta Wood, former elementary school teacher and current Ph.D. Student; School of Education, University of California, Irvine

Taffeta Wood

"I just recently received my feedback from the visit in the fall. The information was very interesting. I am looking forward to getting feedback from the next two observations."

—Kristy Anderson, first grade teacher, Nebraska City Public Schools

2019-2020 Community Partners

2019-2020 Community Partners

Auburn Public Schools

Auburn, NE

Deshler Public Schools

Deshler, NE

Fairbury Public Schools

Fairbury, NE

Inspiring Minds

Lincoln, NE

Little Learners Preschool

Auburn, NE

Nebraska City Public Schools

Nebraska City, NE

Southeast Nebraska Community Action Head Start

Auburn, NE

St. Teresa’s Catholic School

Lincoln, NE

UNL Children’s Center

Lincoln, NE

2018-2019 Community Partners

Nebraska City Public Schools

Nebraska City, NE

St. James Catholic School

Crete, NE

St. John the Baptist Catholic School

Plattsmouth, NE

St. Joseph Catholic School

Lincoln, NE