Okay, it’s a little late for a new year’s resolution. But, let’s face it, we’re all just finally back to full speed after the holiday break. Let’s make a resolution to actually use the data we are spending all this time and energy collecting!
You’ve trained observers who collect reliable CLASS data. You can run reports on your CLASS data. You’ve learned how to use data to tailor professional development in myTeachstone (see: Data Courses). But how do you show you are improving teaching practices?
The truth is, planned and purposeful program monitoring lets you show the impact of PD. To achieve this, you need a strong data collection plan. See the graph below, which shows an example of program-level CLASS data collected over time. This observation data was collected during a specific "window" (every year in October), so that it could be prepared to show progress over time. Can you do this with your data?
So how does your program compare? Answer these three questions, then use the chart below to see if you’re maximizing your data.
1. My program conducts CLASS Observations ...
a. For all classrooms in our program
b. Outside observers conduct CLASS observations and send me the data
c. For some classrooms in our program
d. Outside observers conduct CLASS observations but we don't have access to the data
e. We don't conduct CLASS observations
2. Do you use CLASS data to choose and assign PD in myTeachstone?
3. Do you have specific times (i.e., "windows") during which you collect formal CLASS observations? For example: once a year during a specific month, or at the beginning and end of the school year.
a. Yes, I use formal observation windows.
b. No, I don't use formal observation windows.
Remember, Teachstone is a just a quick email or call away and we're here to help you achieve CLASS impact!
For additional resources on this topic, I'd recommend:
The CLASS measure allows us to quantify the quality of teacher-child interactions—and that is a powerful thing. But collecting observation data, alone, does nothing to impact students. Improving child outcomes takes more than just data collection; it’s what you do with the data that really matters.
Teacher professional development (PD) is often defined as, “structured professional learning that results in changes to teacher knowledge and practices, and improvements in student learning outcomes" (Darling-Hammond, Hyler & Gardner). Research has illustrated that teacher competency and skill is directly correlated to student achievement. Policy makers, educators, parents, and students alike, all have a vested interest in identifying the central aspects of effective teacher PD to enhance student outcomes.
It’s been a great year. You have just conducted some professional development trainings for the group of teachers you are coaching. You got the opportunity to visit their classrooms and see them in action, do formal and informal CLASS observations, and had countless coaching conversations. You see that it’s all beginning to click. You have the teachers’ buy-in, and the motivation is high.