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:
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!”
Practice and feedback is the key to CLASS® success. Even the most experienced certified CLASS Observers need practice and feedback to make sure their classroom observations remain fair and accurate. The best way to provide this is to use our Calibration product. Calibration protects your investment in reliable data collection.
Online Calibrations are available for Certified CLASS observers at all 6 CLASS levels. When you purchase an individual calibration, you’ll receive a video to watch and code on your myTeachstone dashboard. After submitting your codes, you’ll get an automated score report and a prerecorded webinar discussing the master codes.
When I first learned about CLASS Group Coaching—a training for early childhood professionals about building relationships with children—I was more than a little interested. This, I thought. This is what teaching is all about. It seems to be an obvious concept, but once we dig deeper, we are able to identify the whys and hows of our interactions. CLASS Group Coaching allows us to identify the benefits of our classroom relationships with our students and helps us be intentional in our daily practices. It allows us to utilize each moment we have with our students to deepen our understanding of their perspectives and genuinely connect with them as people. It helps us see the world from their view and guide their learning in a way that is relevant to them.
As the Community Manager with Teachstone, I have been able to talk to many observers, trainers, coaches, and general CLASS lovers. I have found a common thread among these groups: a desire to connect with other CLASS users and put their CLASS knowledge to use.
We often hear from CLASS Observers that are interested in observing more classrooms. Meanwhile, many organizations—particularly smaller organizations or those doing research studies—don’t have Certified CLASS Observers and are in search of observers in their area.
If you're a CLASS observer, you've probably found yourself in a situation where you have to make inferences or rely on contextual evidence when assigning scores. However, it should always be your goal to minimize subjectivity and assumptions. You have to prevent your emotions, opinions, and ideas that are not a part of the CLASS tool from influencing scoring. Achieving an emotionless state of objectivity while observing can be incredibly challenging. It takes practice to recognize when objectivity is threatened and respond accordingly.