What is quality in early education classrooms, and how can we make sure that more children—especially those from low-income families—experience it? Our own and others’ research shows that classroom interactions between teachers and their students provide the strongest indicators of quality.
What does quality teaching look like in an early childhood classroom? Twenty-five years ago, it was providing a safe place for children to play, with stimulating materials and books to read. Today, we have provided those basics in most early childhood classrooms, and our focus has shifted to the hows of quality—how teachers interact with children, how they use time and materials to get the most out of every moment, and how they ensure that children are engaged and stimulated.
I’ve just begun my journey into the world of coaching. I am eager and excited about this opportunity to help pave the way for more effective teaching. I’ve recently been given my list of classrooms that I will be working with and I’m anxious to get started. I get ready to meet my first teacher, Ms. Linda, and I just know that she will be excited to meet me and we will form an instant bond and work together for the benefit of the children in that classroom. I will not get many opportunities to have face to face visits with Ms. Linda, so I know this first one is crucial. I walk through the door, introduce myself, and am immediately brushed off. Ms. Linda does not have time to talk to me right now, she shares that several children need her assistance, she’s got to get the morning snack ready, and her assistant is out for the day so she is flying solo. Ms. Linda does not seem as excited about this meeting as I would have hoped. She quickly shares that I’m the third coach that has been in to work with her, and although she knows that I have to do my job, she’s fine and really doesn’t see how I can help her. A CLASS Observer was in her room last week, and she just doesn’t understand what the big deal is. She’s been teaching for over 10 years and she’s tried it all. So anything I have to share with her is stuff she’s already heard.
Personally, I get tired of the knee-jerk teacher bashing that often occurs when people compare U.S. student achievement to that in other countries. It is true that by many measures, U.S. education results lag behind those of other developed nations. But, guess what? There are good reasons for that, and those reasons suggest tangible, attainable solutions for education leaders.
Research leading to the current version of the CLASS tool began in 1991 as a part of the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, which examined the influence of early environments and classroom processes on the development of children from a variety of family backgrounds. Study findings clearly indicated that classroom processes impact student outcomes (NICHD EECRN, 2002; Pianta et al., 2005).
With this knowledge, the research team further refined the initial observational tool (the Classroom Observation System: COS) for use in the National Center for Early Development and Learning (NCEDL) study. This large-scale study examined the quality of publicly funded preschool programs to learn how variations in quality impacted children’s academic and social outcomes.
¿Sabías que CLASS se utiliza en más de 30 países alrededor del mundo? Estudios a nivel mundial han demostrado que CLASS es una herramienta válida en diversos contextos culturales. Nos da gusto lanzar un blog internacional llamado Punto de Mira, el cual está dedicado a destacar el uso global de CLASS. Si vives fuera de los Estados Unidos y te interesa compartir la experiencia de tu implementación de CLASS en nuestro blog, por favor, contacte a Lorena Sernett, gerente de cuentas internacionales de Teachstone.
Did you know that CLASS is now being used in more than 30 countries across the globe? Research studies worldwide have already shown that CLASS has been validated in varying cultural contexts. We are excited to launch an internationally-focused blog on CLASS use around the world called Country Spotlight. If you live in a country outside the United States and would like to submit a blog about your CLASS implementation, please contact Lorena Sernett, Teachstone's international account manager.
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.
As I began to delve into the results of our first-ever State of CLASS survey data, I thought, “Am I about to be out of a job?”
Immediately I noticed that our users are “doing CLASS” the right way. Not only do they have lots of experience—both in early childhood and with the CLASS tool—but they’ve taken that experience, paired it with what they know to be best practice, and are implementing CLASS just as it was intended: as a tool to measure the effectiveness of classroom interactions and as a way to improve teacher practice and drive children’s learning.