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ERIC Number: ED535779
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Feb
Pages: 44
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 15
Pressures of the Season: A Descriptive Look at Classroom Quality in Second and Third Grade Classrooms
Plank, Stephen B.; Condliffe, Barbara
Baltimore Education Research Consortium
This report presents findings from two years of classroom observation designed to help understand the in-school experiences of students who had been first graders in eight Baltimore public schools in 2007-08. During the 2008-09 and 2009-10 school years, the authors conducted fieldwork to understand learning opportunities and settings for a set of students during their second and third grade years. They utilized the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) to observe in 23 classrooms. The CLASS is an observation instrument and protocol developed by researchers at the University of Virginia. It has been used as a research tool in multiple observational studies of elementary school classrooms and in evaluations of specific classroom interventions. It has also been extensively used by schools and school systems as a teacher assessment and professional development tool. For the present project, a team of observers completed 347 CLASS observation spells across 23 classrooms during the two years. In most instances, the author conducted eight observation spells in each classroom over two days in January and another eight spells over two days in May. The CLASS measures aspects of classroom quality across 10 dimensions which can be grouped into three broader domains. These domains are "Emotional Support," "Classroom Organization," and "Instructional Support." Their main findings include: (1) "Emotional support" in most of the 23 classrooms was in the upper half of a moderate range; (2) "Classroom organization" was generally in a moderate to high range: In most classrooms behavioral expectations and routines were made clear by the teacher and respected by students, teachers were usually proactive and successful in maintaining order, and students were generally working productively and staying on-task; (3) "Instructional support" was severely lacking in most of the 23 classrooms: In most classrooms there was little evidence of higher-order concept development, high-quality dialog and feedback to students, or rich language modeling; and (4) Deficiencies in the dimensions of instructional and emotional support were especially pronounced during the winter in third grade classrooms. Appended are: (1) Details of Outlier Analysis and Selection of Eight Schools; and (2) Hierarchical Linear Models for Ten Dimensions of Classroom Quality. (Contains 7 figures, 11 tables, and 8 footnotes.) [Additional funding for this paper was provided by Open Society Institute-Baltimore. For "Pressures of the Season: Classroom Quality in Baltimore Elementary Classes and Implications for Improving Instruction. Policy Brief," see ED535770.]
Baltimore Education Research Consortium. 2701 North Charles Street Suite 300, Baltimore, MD 21218. Tel: 410-516-4044; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Abell Foundation; Annie E. Casey Foundation; Open Society Institute-Baltimore
Authoring Institution: Baltimore Education Research Consortium (BERC)
Identifiers - Location: Maryland