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10 Things You Should Know About the OHS CLASS Reviewer Field Guide

The Office of Head Start recently posted their OHS CLASS Reviewer Field Guide for 2014. For anyone new or unfamiliar with Head Start monitoring, the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) Pre-K is an observation tool that assesses interactions between teachers and children that’s used as part of the triennial monitoring of Head Start classrooms. This Field Guide lays out the do’s and don’ts for OHS CLASS reviewers specifically as they use CLASS to monitor programs; as you’ll see if you read it in full, use for program monitoring differs from classroom monitoring because the intention is to monitor enough classrooms to get a valid sample across an entire program rather than spending enough time in any one classroom to evaluate a particular teacher.

If you have a review coming up, we encourage you to read the full document both so your staff is prepared for what to expect and so you can recognize and respond to any features of the CLASS review that are conducted inappropriately. In the meantime, here are ten details from the Field Guide that speak to commonly asked questions about CLASS use for monitoring!

  1. CLASS Reviewers CANNOT conduct observations in classrooms where they don’t “fully understand” the primary language of instruction.
  2. Playground time can ONLY be observed if the activity going on is structured.
  3. Observations CAN be done during meal times, even if the meal is taking place in a cafeteria with other classes present.
  4. At least 50% of children enrolled in a classroom must be present for an observation to be conducted.
  5. Observations CANNOT be conducted while children are napping.
  6. Substitute teachers CANNOT be observed unless they are long-term substitutes who have been teaching the observed class more than ten days.
  7. New teachers CAN be observed once they have been teaching a class more than ten days.
  8. Other members of the OHS monitoring team should NOT be in the classroom while an observation is being conducted.
  9. OHS CLASS monitors must now meet TWO benchmarks for reliability, both through Teachstone and through dual coding.
  10. Classrooms within a Head Start program are chosen randomly by computer and CLASS monitors have NO discretion to select other classrooms.