There are many systems and tools available for programs to in their assessment and quality improvement. Some measure similar things and some measure very different things. Depending on your program goals, you may feel that one assessment tool is all you need, while others may feel that they need to use several tools.
This is why we are thrilled to be part of a true collaboration: a jointly produced document providing an overview of the alignment between the domains of the pre-K CLASS measure and the NAEYC Accreditation for Programs Serving Young Children (NAEYC Accreditation) standards and criteria.
This resource explains the common features of the two assessment systems, as well as their distinct yet complementary features. Like our other crosswalks and alignments, we hope it will facilitate the use of both tools and provide helpful information to program staff using the CLASS and considering applying for NAEYC program accreditation, or vice-versa.
We announced the release of the alignment at our recent InterAct Summit and received some great feedback about how programs would use the document. We know that it can be overwhelming to manage multiple tools from an administrator’s and teacher’s standpoint. During InterAct, we heard that this document and others like it can help relieve the stress of using multiple tools by showing how both tools are working toward the same goal and include teacher-child interactions as a key component of quality. While NAEYC accreditation focuses on broad quality factors and CLASS focuses specifically on interactions, both highlight the importance in recognizing teachers’ interactions play a critical role in children’s learning.
So, how did we create the alignment? The process involved experts on both tools undertaking a deep and intensive analysis of each of the observable NAEYC criteria and each of the CLASS indicators for content matches. We examined the tools in both directions: meaning each CLASS indicator was used as a starting point to determine where it fully matched, partially matched, or didn’t match with each NAEYC criterion, and then the process was reversed with each NAEYC criterion used as a starting point to determine where it fully matched, partially matched, or didn’t match with each CLASS indicator. From this, we calculated the percentage of shared indicators from each CLASS domain with the NAEYC Standards.
The resulting resource is now available on both the Teachstone and NAEYC websites. If you are using NAEYC Accreditation and deciding if you want to use CLASS, or using CLASS and deciding if you want to use NAEYC Accreditation, not using either, or using both, check it out!
From a personal perspective, as I work to bridge policy and practice in my role at Teachstone, I am humbled to be part of this collaboration. I’ve been a proud member of NAEYC my entire ECE professional life—since age 22. In fact, my NAEYC roots extend further back, as I was an assistant for my mother’s many puppet-making and cooking workshops at AEYC conferences in many venues when I was a young child. I’m now in my sixth year of working with Teachstone, in its still-nascent organizational journey, and I’m honored to have had the experience of true collaboration and partnership in working with NAEYC, an organization steadfast in its mission to connect practice, policy, and research in support of high quality early childhood education.
Many thanks to our colleagues at both NAEYC and Teachstone for their feedback and editing, as well as to the external reviewers who shared feedback at the NAEYC 2015 Annual Conference. We greatly appreciate the input and welcome continued feedback on this resource, as we are all on a journey of continuous quality improvement to better serve young children and those who care and teach them.
Are there other alignments that you would like to see? Tools you think work well with CLASS or questions about how to use multiple tools in your program? Let us know.
Do you have fond childhood memories of sitting with a special adult and listening to them read one of your favorite stories? I vividly remember my dad reading The Elephant’s Child by Rudyard Kipling to me and how we laughed together at the funny voices he used. As an educator, you know how important those moments are for building warm connections, enjoying time together, and learning about many things. So, even if you missed out on those moments as a child, you want to create those moments for the children in your classroom. With careful planning, you can be confident that your read-alouds will be exciting, effective learning opportunities.
As part of our Teacher Spotlight series, we recently asked the CLASS Community to nominate a teacher whose high-quality classroom interactions are making a difference for their dual language learners. Our winner, Kim Schoell, has been teaching for 20 years and is currently a Pre-K teacher in Frederick County, VA. 67% of her students are Hispanic and many of the children are dual language learners.
We were really happy to receive an article examining the use of CLASS in American Indian and Alaska Native Head Start Programs. And we were equally happy when lead author, Jessica Barnes-Najor, a researcher at Michigan State University, agreed to speak with us. In conjunction with her work at MSU, Jessica is a co-investigator for The Tribal Early Childhood Research Center (TRC). Read below to learn more about this important research.
The following is a highlight of the discussion from a recent webinar on trauma-informed strategies. You can watch the entire webinar, Interactions at the Heart of Healing – CLASS-based Strategies for Supporting Teachers and Children, which is part of our free Trauma-informed care webinar series.