The CLASS tool is complex, and for good reason. It measures human interactions, which are in and of themselves very complex. While complexity in measuring interactions is a good thing, CLASS takes ongoing practice to master and maintain. If you are not in the tool regularly, or if you train a lot but only occasionally code in classrooms, you can experience what we call “drift.” It’s possible to move away from being as reliable as you once were. Luckily, there’s an answer for that—CLASS Calibration!
Calibration is a quick and impactful way to practice coding, gauge your reliability, and assess where you may need some fine-tuning. It involves watching and coding a single video and submitting those codes online. You will receive an automated score report and access to a webinar detailing the master codes and rationales behind the master codes for the video. Kind of like a mini-reliability test!
Calibration can have a powerful impact on both you and your participants. Each time you calibrate, you deepen your own CLASS content knowledge and hone your coding skills. When you train, the experience of calibration can give you classroom examples to share that are relevant to the participants. The more you practice and the more check-ins you have with master codes, the more comfortable you’ll feel with the tool—whether you a training, coaching, or coding. With comfort comes confidence, which will be apparent to your participants. It makes that all-important "buy-in" a little easier too!
Make it a habit! At a minimum, you should be calibrating once or twice a year. If you know you’ve got a bunch of trainings or observations coming up, calibrate beforehand. If you train or observe on the regular, set a more rigorous calibration schedule for yourself, such as quarterly or monthly. As a bonus, you will feel better prepared come recertification time!
Investing in yourself through calibration reaps benefits for you, your trainees, and the teachers and children in the classrooms you and your trainees will observe. That’s what I call a win, win, win!
Of course, calibration isn't the only thing you can do to maintain reliability between annual certification tests. How do you keep your CLASS coding knowledge on point?
Have you ever meditated? One of the most challenging aspects of this practice is clearing your mind from day-to-day thoughts that pop into your head. If you meditate, you know that trying to push those thoughts away doesn’t work—in order to free your mind you must first acknowledge those distracting thoughts before you can return to your “moment of zen.”
Reliability testing is stressful? Right? Right! Especially when you are an Affiliate Trainer, and you must pass the test to maintain trainer status! So you want to make sure that you’re doing the best you can. You study for the test, put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door, and lock yourself in your office with your manual, score sheets, and pencils in hand. (Steaming hot cup of coffee or tea is optional).
At some point in every training, someone invariably looks up and says, “So, if I want to be reliable, all I need to do is never score a 1 or a 7, right?”
Wrong! Every time I hear this, I want to scream. However, since it’s poor form for the trainer to scream, I maintain my composure and calmly explain that although I understand the intuitive appeal of what I call “The Numbers Game,” I cannot recommend it for the reasons presented below:
So, you're already a pro at conducting a CLASS Observation Training, but providing reliability support to trainees during the testing period can be challenging. Watch the video to learn about group reports, individual reports, and interpreting the score report on the CLASS Affiliate Trainer panel.