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.
I couldn’t help but think, “Looks like our job here is done.” Since I arrived at Teachstone four years ago, we’ve been working to move the image of CLASS as a “gotcha” measure to one that is designed to support teachers by helping them to see what they’re doing well (and encourage them to do more of that) and finding personalized and meaningful ways to improve their day-to-day interactions with the children in their classroom. Even when CLASS is used in high-stakes evaluations, it’s important that it’s tied to feedback and professional development so that change can take place. Without the coupling of measurement data with resources for improvement, CLASS cannot break free of this stigma.
But looking through our State of CLASS data at first glance, I saw that this was already happening—and our n (sample size) is not insignificant (2,973 respondents!). For example:
These types of results are so promising, and despite concern for my future employment, I was thrilled to see the field moving in this direction.
As I read on, however, I realized that even with all of this strong data, it’s not time to pack up my bags quite yet. There are still definitely constraints, particularly around limited resources, that the early childhood field must overcome before we are able to truly deliver on the promise of CLASS.
Limited time, tight budgets, and a lack of staffing continue to plague the smallest child care centers to the largest of states as they implement CLASS. Even with good intentions and the best laid plans, programs need support as they work within these constraints to ensure that they tie data with professional development, personalize support for teachers, and make that support meaningful and engaging.
The bad news: we’re not there yet.
The good news: we’re in this together and we have a plan to help you scale CLASS.
To steal a quote from our first-ever State of CLASS 2015 Report:
Access to high-quality education should not be a game of chance. With the right supports, programs can ensure that all children receive the positive, nurturing education shown to create lasting developmental benefits. That’s the promise of CLASS.
Check out the report, see where your organization measures up, and then give us a call so that we can work with you to deliver on the promise of CLASS.
At Teachstone, our driving vision is to ensure every child experiences life-changing teaching. This mission is why we’re making a commitment to restabilize and improve education for every child, and every educator. And, we know that bringing this commitment to life requires providing education leaders with the support they need to not only face the current challenges, but that will propel towards the future of quality and equity.
The 2021 InterAct CLASS Summit brought together incredible speakers and practitioners from across the globe. It energized us, emboldened us, and excited us about new opportunities - like myCoach Connect.
myCoach Connect, developed in partnership with Torsh Inc., will transform how you view, receive, and deliver practice-based coaching to teachers in your program. It brings together innovative technology from Torsh with Teachstone’s staff of expert, certified CLASS® coaches to drive program improvement, classroom quality, and student outcomes.
It’s now been one year since the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered school facilities and forced educators across the globe to shift how they engage learners. At Teachstone, we too made shifts to ensure we met the moment, while remaining steadfast in our commitment to improving the interactions that matter most to children’s development and success.
Over the course of nearly a decade, beginning in 2010, the Inter-American Development Bank ran a randomized, longitudinal study in Ecuador called Cerrando Brechas (Closing Gaps), using CLASS to better understand the characteristics or practices of those teachers most successful in closing the achievement gap between the poorest children in their classrooms and their better-off schoolmates (you can read more here).
Closing Gaps found that regardless of a teachers’ age, IQ, or academic or professional credentials, it is teachers’ classroom behaviors and practices – specifically, the way in which teachers interact with students - that is most strongly associated with children’s improved learning outcomes.