I recently blogged about why recertification is important (bottom line: it’s your yearly chance to test yourself against master-coded videos). But what about between recertifications? How do you ensure that you stay reliable throughout the year?
There isn’t much very research on this topic. Research groups, though, do a lot to maintain reliability. Here are some ideas from the research world and thoughts on how you can adapt these ideas for practice:
Calibration, like recertification, gives you a chance to check in with master-coded videos periodically to prevent drift.
Double-coding is when two certified observers code side by side and check their codes at the end of the day.
Debriefing is part of double-coding, but it gets its own bullet point because, done right, it can be a powerful tool for maintaining reliability. (Thank you, Amanda Williford, for a recent reminder of how to do this right!)
The best way to stay reliable is to code a lot and get a lot of input on your coding—either through feedback on master-coded videos, or feedback from your colleagues. Do you have other methods you use? Let me know in the comments.
As the Community Manager with Teachstone, I have been able to talk to many observers, trainers, coaches, and general CLASS lovers. I have found a common thread among these groups: a desire to connect with other CLASS users and put their CLASS knowledge to use.
We often hear from CLASS Observers that are interested in observing more classrooms. Meanwhile, many organizations—particularly smaller organizations or those doing research studies—don’t have Certified CLASS Observers and are in search of observers in their area.
If you're a CLASS observer, you've probably found yourself in a situation where you have to make inferences or rely on contextual evidence when assigning scores. However, it should always be your goal to minimize subjectivity and assumptions. You have to prevent your emotions, opinions, and ideas that are not a part of the CLASS tool from influencing scoring. Achieving an emotionless state of objectivity while observing can be incredibly challenging. It takes practice to recognize when objectivity is threatened and respond accordingly.