The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) wanted to assess the quality of the literacy instruction received by students in state-funded early learning and preschool programs and to provide teachers with information to improve their practice. AIR conducted more than 1,400 observations of early learning environments across the state using the Early Language and Literacy Classroom Observation Toolkit (ELLCO).
AIR conducted classroom observations consisting of 14 individual elements conceptually grouped into two constructs: the General Classroom Environment and Language, Literacy, and Curriculum. Pairs of trained observers used the ELLCO Toolkit to conduct the observations, conferring with one another to reach consensus regarding the ratings for each of the 14 ELLCO elements.
With these data, the AIR evaluation team created reports that provided state policymakers, program administrators, and individual teachers with the tailored information they needed to make decisions. Teachers received individual ratings and evidence statements to support the ratings, which showed their areas of strength and challenge; program administrators received a report with an average rating for all classrooms observed, which provided insight into the types of professional development that might be most useful. The state-level reports, which highlighted the overall effectiveness of the program, informed ODE’s decision to retain the program when faced with budget cuts.