Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)

About The Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)

The interactions between a teacher and a child are vital to a child’s learning and development. Research and developmental theory indicates that these interactions in early childhood classrooms, along with the overall learning environment, is foundational to learning. The quality of teacher-child interactions is assessed using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS).

Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) is an observation instrument which considers three categories, or domains, that support a child’s learning and development. The three umbrella domains are Emotional Support, Classroom Organization, and Instructional Support.

Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) Measurements

Each of the three domains contains features, or dimensions, that look at detailed aspects of classroom interactions. Let’s take a quick look at the dimensions of each domain.

The dimensions of Emotional Support

This has been described as the heart and feeling of the classroom.

  • Positive Climate- Reflects the emotional connection between a teacher and students demonstrated by verbal and nonverbal communication
  • Negative Climate- The overall expressed negativity from student to teacher and peer to peer. This may be shown through tone of voice, punitive control and more.
  • Teacher Sensitivity- Captures the teacher’s awareness of and response to the academic and emotional needs of their students
  • Regard for Student Perspectives- The organized activities and lesson plans touch on students’ interests and points of view

The dimensions of Classroom Organization

This has been described as the skeleton; it is the structure.

  • Behavior Management- A practice of creating routines and communicating clear expectations
  • Productivity- A practice of efficient time management, routines and transitions from one lesson or activity to the next
  • Instructional Learning Format- Acknowledging and incorporating student interests, various teaching methods, and clear and engaging approaches to promote student engagement

The dimensions of Instructional Support

This has been described as the brain; it is the promotion of children’s thinking through effective teaching.

  • Concept Development- Demonstrates creativity and analytical facilitation of learning and development
  • Quality of Feedback- A display of encouraging responses and expansion of performance
  • Language Modeling- A practice of creating open-ended conversations, utilizing repetition and expansion, and promoting advanced language

How Does Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) Impact Student Success?

Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) benefits programs by helping them improve their teacher-child interactions and therefore improve the overall quality of the classroom. It can help equip teachers with skills and knowledge to support students in a new way and prepare them for school. Teachstone research shows that children in classrooms with high CLASS scores experience stronger educational and social outcomes including: increased listening comprehension, stronger vocabulary and math skills, improved social-emotional awareness, reduced problem behaviors, positive attitudes towards learning and more!

How Does Quality Start Utilize Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)?

Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) is used in Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS), like QSSB, across the country. In California, CLASS is an element on the state matrix and is used to determine a site’s overall quality rating. QSSB determines and communicates a participating site’s rating. To prepare participants for the assessment, QSSB offers trainings throughout the year. Trainings include an overview of how the tool is utilized in early environments to more extensive observation trainings in which attendees have the opportunity to become reliable observers. Reliable observers gain an in-depth knowledge of the tool and are able to informally and formally observe teacher-child interactions and collect meaningful data. All of which helps to improve an environment’s overall quality. For those participating programs that are on the receiving end of a Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) observation, the outcome helps support the formation of a Quality Improvement Plan and coaching services.

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