Yes, you read that correctly. The CLASS isn’t reliable in scientific terms. But, it is valid: you can count on the CLASS to measure what is predictive of positive developmental and academic outcomes for children, and it has been validated through more than a hundred studies. In research terms, however, tools aren’t reliable on their own. People can be trained to sufficient reliability with successful completion of CLASS observation training and reliability testing. To maintain high levels of reliability, it’s important to think about your own professional development plan to maintain the skills you recently acquired.
Brace yourself. I’m about to bring up a topic that strikes fear in the hearts of thousands of early childhood professionals—the CLASS reliability test! But as the list below demonstrates, it doesn’t have to be so scary.
Test your knowledge by answering fact or fiction to each statement below!
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?
Maintaining your CLASS certification may not be at the top of your to-do list after you’ve attended observation training and passed your first reliability test. You’re likely looking forward to the important work you’ll be doing throughout the year, using your skills as a CLASS observer to make an impact on the quality of education in your area.
This is understandable, given that you won’t be required to recertify for an entire year, and you have a lot to do before that year is up! However, as we all know, a year goes by quicker than you think, and before you know it you’ll be receiving an e-mail reminder from Teachstone: it’s time for your annual CLASS recertification!
Let’s skip past all the reasons reliability on the CLASS measure is super important. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been to a CLASS training and already know that improving teaching starts with gathering fair and valid observation data—hence the dreaded CLASS reliability test, to prove your coding skills are on point.
The first thing to consider as you develop a CLASS observation plan for your organization is the purpose or goal of your observations. Are you more interested in teacher-level or program-level data? Will you be using the data you collect to inform professional development? What kinds of decisions will your data help you make? Knowing why you’re conducting CLASS observations and what you hope to accomplish will help you decide on plan specifics.
We Teachstone trainers often have participants in our trainings that have previously attended a CLASS Observation training. Some participants are returning to become reliable observers in another age group, while others have, at some time in the past, let their certification expire. No matter the reason a trainee is attending another CLASS observation training, someone will express sincere surprise during the portion of training that covers the CLASS coding process. We have heard comments such as, “I’ve never heard CLASS scoring trained like this before!” or “Thank you, this makes so much more sense, I can’t wait to try out coding in my classrooms now!”
Watch as our CLASS experts discuss some of the common misconceptions of the Instructional Support domain in the pre-K CLASS tool. You'll get clarity on what concept development really means, why not all conversations are feedback loops, and why some people mistakenly think children must initiate a quality of feedback conversation.
A CLASS Observation Training is an interactive, content-packed experience, and even the most enthusiastic participants may find it difficult to think clearly as they gather their notebooks to head home at the end of day two. Of course we understand how busy everyone is leading up to a training, so none of the below is technically required of you to attend the training. However, a few minutes of preparation can give you a framework for the CLASS knowledge you’re about to gain, enriching the experience for you and everyone around you!