ETS-Led Team to Investigate Classroom Observational Tool for Student-Teacher Interactions
- Tom Ewing
- Tom Ewing
Princeton, N.J. (December 18, 2008) —
Educational Testing Service (ETS), the University of Virginia, and The RAND Corporation were awarded a three-year, $663,868 grant by the William T. Grant and Spencer foundations to explore the best practices in implementing the secondary school version of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), a promising observational instrument that measures student-teacher interactions.
The University of Virginia developed CLASS, and its use has been validated in more than 2,000 elementary school classrooms. The ETS-led research effort, under the direction of Distinguished Researcher Drew Gitomer and Associate Research Scientist Courtney Bell, will test the validity of the CLASS-S — an altered version of CLASS meant for use in secondary school classrooms. The research will assess and refine different ways to implement CLASS to optimize its efficiency.
The research team will gather data in 150 eighth- and ninth-grade algebra classrooms using three different strategies for completing the CLASS: conventional observation by a classroom rater, video recording of classrooms to allow for offsite coding, and teacher self-assessment.
For the validity analyses, the researchers will collect measures of teacher and student characteristics, teachers’ math knowledge for instruction and teachers’ knowledge of instructional support. The team will compare CLASS and other scores to the changes in student scores on a standardized algebra test.
The grant is one of six the William T. Grant and Spencer foundations awarded through their joint Request for Proposals (RFP) program on the Development and Improvement of the Measurement of Classroom Quality. The foundations issued the RFP in response to the need to develop valid, reliable and cost-effective measures of classroom characteristics for use in large-scale, multisite research studies.
"There are few good cost-effective measures of what distinguishes classrooms that improve student outcomes from those that do not. Our foundations are working together to solve that problem," said Robert C. Granger, president of the William T. Grant Foundation. Michael McPherson, president of the Spencer Foundation observed, "Both foundations believe that this RFP has helped us to identify outstanding researchers who are working on an important missing element in research on teaching and learning."
"We are excited about this research and development direction because we believe that improvement of teaching practice requires effective evaluation measurement tools that are based on a deep understanding of teaching practice," Gitomer said. "This research will help us understand how such tools can be made useful to policymakers and practitioners alike."
At nonprofit ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary and post-secondary education, as well as conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE® test and The Praxis Series™ assessments — in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide. www.ets.org