In order to ensure quality and develop an objective standard, or as objective as you can be with a semi-subjective tool, Head Start uses the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS). CLASS has been shown to be a valid and reliable tool.
CLASS may be used from preschool through High School and there is an a very similar tool that just came out for children under 3 years of age. CLASS is an observational tool that is used to assess teacher-child interactions using a 7-item Likert Scale (1-2 is low, 3-5 is medium, 6-7 is high). The observer completes four 20 minute observations and after each 20 minute observation, takes about 10 minutes to score the observations ([20 min observation + 10 minutes coding] * 4 = 2 hours to complete one CLASS score). CLASS is divided into three domains and seven dimensions, at least in reference to using CLASS for young children.
The three domains are Emotional Support, Classroom Organization, and Instructional Support.
Emotion Support has four dimensions:
- Positive Climate
- Negative Climate
- Teacher Sensitivity
- Regard for Student Perspectives
Classroom Organization has three dimensions:
- Behavior Management
- Instructional Learning Format
Instructional Support has three dimensions:
- Concept Development
- Quality of Feedback
- Language Modeling
Once children reach school, there is a fourth dimension: Literacy Focus.
For other blogs on the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS): click here to read a synopsis on CLASS and other early childhood assessment tools, click here to read about implementing CLASS, click here to read more about Dr Hamre’s work regarding CLASS and academic achievement, or click here to find research that has been published using CLASS as an assessment tool.