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To Rewind or Not to Rewind? That is the Question.

26 Oct 2017 by Sarah Hadden

Reliability testing is stressful? Right? Right! Especially when you are an Affiliate Trainer, and you must pass the test to maintain trainer status! So you want to make sure that you’re doing the best you can. You study for the test, put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door, and lock yourself in your office with your manual, score sheets, and pencils in hand. (Steaming hot cup of coffee or tea is optional).

You’re watching the first video, taking copious detailed notes, and then something distracts you. Maybe someone ignores your “Do Not Disturb” sign and knocks on your door – or maybe your mind just wandered for a brief moment. You think you might have missed something! Perhaps you missed a key interaction that might have altered the code! What should you do? You start to panic – and then suddenly, you remember the pause button, and you think you are saved. This button will be your salvation - the difference between a hearty congratulations message and the dreaded “you did not achieve reliability” notification.

But stop one minute and think before you hit pause or rewind the video. While that button is there, it’s not a good idea to pause or rewind multiple times during the video observation. This practice can give us a very fractured picture of what happened in that classroom, which is counter to the holistic view that we’re looking for in a CLASS observation. Furthermore, pausing and rewinding a video can lead the observer to overthink and second-guess themselves.

So why do we have that functionality on the testing site? It allows people who have a major interruption to pause the video and then go back and review what they saw. It’s not meant to be used for momentary distractions, but rather for an event that breaks concentration (think about a phone call that you have to take vs. silencing your phone if it rings while you are testing). Furthermore, the pause button may also be helpful for people who have difficulty processing the language.

If it makes you nervous not to rely on the pause button, consider the following:

  • The master coders only view the video once so watching it mirrors the master coders' experience. The coders aren’t pausing the video every so often to ensure that nothing escapes their attention. They know that they can’t see everything, but hone in on key interactions.
  • There is no pause button when live coding a classroom. The observer needs to roll with whatever is happening during the observation cycle.
  • Pausing may lead the observer to overthink and second guess themselves.
  • Unless it’s an instance of severe negativity, a single incident won’t alter a code. Remember, we are looking for the average experience of the average child.

So the next time you’re testing and tempted to hit pause to make certain that you’ve got every tiny detail down, think again and go with the flow. And prepare yourself—your participants will ask you if they are able to re-wind or re-watch videos. Hopefully, our tips here will help you explain all the reasons “why-not-to!”

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