To the Editor:
The article “States Fold Teaching Into Preschool Rating Factors” (June 12, 2013) quotes Robert Pianta, the dean of the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia and my organization’s co-founder and chairman. But the piece also questions the ability to demonstrate that a Quality Rating and Improvement System, or QRIS, improves teacher quality.
While education in the earliest years is complex, decades of research have uncovered what constitutes quality teaching and how to measure and improve these skills. It is the ways that teachers interact with children that are the ingredients of learning.
Research shows that children who are in warm, supportive, and stimulating environments make greater gains in academic and social skills. The teachers who watch attentively, ask questions, are responsive to children’s needs, and get children engaged are the ones who change lives.
These relationships and interactions can be reliably measured with QRIS tools such as our Classroom Assessment Scoring System, or CLASS, an observation measure that assesses classroom quality and provides educators with a language and lens to identify and understand effective teaching practices. Being able to quantify these interactions provides a powerful lever for change.
Research and Evaluation
A version of this article appeared in the July 11, 2013 edition of Education Week as Quality-Rating System Seen Spurring Change