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.
The time has come for hard conversations.
That’s the feedback we have been receiving from educators across the country. There are plenty of tough conversations educators are trained, taught, or feel equipped to handle with children and families - gently bringing up a developmental concern, facilitating a disagreement between students, or explaining what happened with the classroom goldfish are all part of a day in the life. But in the last year, since the killing of George Floyd and other Black people at the hands of police, educators are increasingly asking for help in communicating more comfortably with young children about diversity and difference.
I was supposed to be an architect, instead I was a teacher of young children; it felt like my calling.
When I started my coursework, they tasked me with visiting multiple classrooms. It overwhelmed me when in some classrooms, children were crying, teachers were frustrated, and no one seemed to enjoy the day. I thought I had made a mistake. Thankfully, I had a professor who inspired me to continue. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the behaviors I observed in both children and teachers, the professor charged me to uncover the root of those behaviors.
And so, my journey to support social-emotional development began.
Every state, every district, every school, every teacher faced decisions that they had never anticipated in the last academic year. As the end of the 2020-2021 school year approaches, it’s time to reflect on those decisions, learn from others, and prepare for the fall ahead.
This past year of hybrid and virtual learning due to the pandemic highlighted the gaps in learning and the inequities that we already knew existed. It is apparent, now more than ever, that there needs to be a narrow focus on bridging the divides (e.g., digital) that exist and meeting students where they are in order to promote growth and put less emphasis on standardized testing. This would allow teachers to concentrate on curriculum with greater impact, differentiate their instruction, and utilize effective strategies that they know make a difference for children’s outcomes.