CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., April 28, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Teachstone released the State of CLASS 2015 report after conducting a survey of almost 3,000 early childhood educators and professionals on the use of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) – a tool used to measure the effectiveness of teacher-student interactions. Findings include input from teachers, coaches, administrators, evaluators, researchers, and teacher educators from all 50 states and 16 countries.
The CLASS was adopted as part of the federal Head Start performance standards in 2009 and is now included in a growing number of states' Quality Rating and Improvement Systems.
Survey results show that programs are using CLASS data not only for compliance, but also to help inform teacher professional development.
"We know that measuring teachers' interactions with children isn't enough. It's more important to ensure that all children have access to high-quality, supportive, and nurturing interactions and classrooms. Key to this is that Teachers receive professional development that zeroes in on their interactions and support their skills in engaging with children, so that classroom experiences result in lasting gains," said Dr. Robert Pianta, co-founder of Teachstone and dean of U.Va.'s Curry School of Education.
Over the past seven years, Teachstone has encouraged and watched this shift in organizations using CLASS data to inform professional development.
"When I started working with Teachstone, our focus was on supporting early childhood leaders to use fair and accurate data to assess their programs and classrooms," CEO Rebecca Berlin said. "Now the field is building on that and focusing on using that data for improvement efforts. This report shows how far the field has come in making real, meaningful change for our children."
These shifts have also proved challenging, and programs are finding that they lack the resources needed to realize change. The survey outlined four major limitations: time, budget, staffing, and planning.
The findings align with Teachstone's recommendations that a program's success is contingent on being able to scale professional development effectively and suggest four areas of focus:
- Using data management systems to collect and manage quantitative and qualitative information
- Conducting CLASS observations with limited staff
- Leveraging in-house coaching structures
- Integrating CLASS with other tools and systems
The report closes with recommendations on how programs can overcome these challenges and emphasizes investments in systems to collect and manage data, personalize professional development, support existing coaching structures, and provide visibility and accountability into what is taking place across the organization.
About Teachstone Training LLC: Teachstone® was founded in 2008 to deliver the Classroom Assessment Scoring System® (CLASS®) nationwide and around the globe. Developed through years of research, the CLASS observation tool measures the interactions between teachers and children, which have been shown to drive learning and lifelong achievement. Teachstone helps organizations conduct classroom observations and provide professional development so that teachers improve and children learn more.