What Is the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) Tool?

Instructor: Holly DeLuca

Holly has taught special education students and has a master's degree in special education

In this lesson, we will discuss the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) Tool. We will look at what the tool is, and how it is used in the classroom.

The Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)

The CLASS is a measurement tool used in infant through Grade 12 caregiver interactions and classrooms. It focuses on processes in which teachers and caregivers interact with children. The CLASS assesses interactions in three main areas: Emotional/Behavioral Support, Classroom Organization, and Instructional Support. Classrooms are scored, not individual teachers. The classroom is given a rating in each area from 1-7. A rating of 1 would indicate that something was not present or observed. A rating of 7 would indicate that the area was observed frequently. Let's take a closer look at each of these domains.

Emotional Support

The Emotional Support domain covers topics such as the climate of the classroom, how sensitive the teacher is to student needs, and how well the teacher takes into account student perspectives on different issues. For example, Mrs. Smith teaches in an early education classroom with students who are 3 and 4 years old. She has a new student in her classroom today. This student is having difficulty leaving his mother, because he has never been in school before. Mrs. Smith welcomes the student with a warm smile and a caring tone of voice. She invites him to the play area, where other students are playing with cars. Mrs. Smith stays next to the new student for a few minutes until the child feels comfortable. Mrs. Smith continues to make the new student feel welcomed throughout the day by explaining classroom procedures, showing him where things are in the room, and giving him extra time to complete his craft activity.

Mrs. Smith's classroom includes all of the elements that are rated on the CLASS tool. Her classroom would score high in this area. She maintains a positive environment and is sensitive to student needs, based on our example about the new student. She is also flexible when noticing that she needs to stay close to the new student in order for him to feel comfortable.

Classroom Organization

The Classroom Organization domain looks at the behavior management of the classroom, productivity, and what kinds of formats are being used for instruction. In Mrs. Smith's classroom, there are routines and procedures in place for every part of the day. Students know that they need to come in, hang up their book bag, and then they can go play. During morning circle time, the students hear music that signals it is time to come sit on the carpet. Mrs. Smith sings songs with the class that help them to learn the alphabet, numbers, and colors. She also shows pictures that go along with each song. This helps students to understand the different concepts in a visual way. Mrs. Smith uses a variety of techniques and strategies that aid in her classroom running smoothly. Her students understand the rules and expectations, and therefore they rarely behave in a negative way.

Mrs. Smith's classroom is very organized and has procedures in place. Her classroom would score high in this area as well. Negative behaviors occur rarely in the classroom and students are busy engaging in activities during the school day. Mrs. Smith also uses a variety of learning techniques such as pictures, words, and verbal prompting to help students master different concepts.

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