Classroom Assessment Scoring System(CLASS) Manual, K-3 / Edition 1

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Effective teacher–student interactions are a primary ingredient of high-quality early educational experiences. With the popular CLASS™ observational tool, schools can accurately assess classroom quality in K–3 classrooms based on teacher–student interactions rather than the physical environment or a specific curriculum. The CLASS tool
  • covers three crucial domains of teacher-student interaction: Emotional Support, Classroom Organization, and Instructional Support.
  • has high validity and reliability, proven through more than a decade of testing and research in over 3,000 classrooms.
  • addresses a school's most urgent needs: accountability efforts, professional development, program planning, and research.
  • establishes an accurate picture of the classroom through 30-minute cycles of observation and scoring, repeated up to 6 times over 3 hours.
  • helps identify areas for improvement so programs can choose effective interventions for "trouble spots."

This useful manual includes detailed descriptions of the 10 CLASS dimensions, administration procedures, and a technical appendix. One copy of the CLASS™ Dimensions Overview, a tri-fold reference sheet for observers, is included with the manual.

This user's guide is part of CLASS, the bestselling classroom observational tool that measures interactions between children and teachers—a primary ingredient of high-quality early educational experiences. With versions for toddler programs, pre-K (in English and Spanish), and K–3 classrooms, the reliable and valid CLASS tool establishes an accurate picture of the classroom through brief, repeated observation and scoring cycles and effectively pinpoints areas for improvement.

Learn more about the entire CLASS system. Sign up for webinars on CLASS presented by Teachstone.

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Editorial Reviews

Pennsylvania Standards for Learning-Assessment and Curriculum
"...this system is intriguing because it examines the use and implementation of curriculum and materials. Thus the CLASS examines what teachers do with the materials as opposed to what is available in the physical environment."
Associate Professor, Curry School of Education and Center for the Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning, University of - Sara E. Rimm-Kaufman
"CLASS is exactly the type of tool that can fuel a new field of scientific inquiry and its subsequent interventions. Easy to learn and understand, the CLASS measure offers a clearer understanding of how classrooms serve as a context for children's development."
Professor, College of Education and Human Ecology, The Ohio State University - Laura Justice
"CLASS provides school administrators, teachers, consultants, and other education professionals with state-of-the-art tools for understanding and promoting classroom quality. I have found these measures a powerful resource for my own research on the quality of language instruction in preschool classrooms."
Independent Education Consultant, Riverton, Wyoming - Kathy Parker
"If we truly want to become accountable for our teaching practices, we need to begin using CLASS."
Research assistant and doctoral candidate, Texas A&M University - Brooke Kandel-Cisco
"...results from observations with the CLASS allow teachers to see their areas of strength as well as pinpoint specific teacher behaviors that need to be changed or modified in order to improve classroom practice and positively influence the academic and social development of elementary students."
NAEYC - Gail Perry
"Description of CLASS and it's uses published in NAEYC's Young Children journal New Books section, May 2008 issue"
Education Week - Linda Jacobson
May 15, 2008 issue: "Pupil-Teacher Relationship Crucial in Preschool Learning, Study Says"

mentions CLASS and Dr. Pianta's research

From the Publisher

"...this system is intriguing because it examines the use and implementation of curriculum and materials. Thus the CLASS examines what teachers do with the materials as opposed to what is available in the physical environment."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781557669421
  • Publisher: Brookes, Paul H. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 11/1/2007
  • Format: Spiral Bound
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 909,463
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Meet the Author

Bridget K. Hamre, Ph.D., is Research Associate Professor in the Curry School ofEducation and Associate Director of University of Virginia’s Center for Advanced Study ofTeaching and Learning (CASTL). Dr. Hamre’s areas of expertise include student–teacherrelationships and classroom processes that promote positive academic and social developmentfor young children, and she has authored numerous peer-reviewed manuscripts onthese topics. This work documents the ways in which early teacher–child relationships arepredictive of later academic and social development and the ways in which exposure tohigh-quality classroom social and instructional interactions may help close the achievementgap for students at risk of school failure.

Dr. Hamre leads efforts to use the CLASS™ tool as an assessment, accountability,and professional development tool in early childhood and other educational settings. Mostrecently, she was engaged in the development and testing of interventions designed toimprove the quality of teachers’ interactions with students, including MyTeachingPartnerand a 14-week course developed for early childhood teachers. Dr. Hamre received herbachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and her master’s degree anddoctorate in clinical and school psychology from the University of Virginia.

Karen M. La Paro, Ph.D., is Associate Professor in the Department of Human Developmentand Family Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Dr. La Paro teachesundergraduate and graduate courses in theory and research as well as supervisespracticum students in early childhood classrooms. Her areas of research relate to issues ofquality in early childhood classrooms and the development of effective teachers. This workaddresses critical needs in supervision, support, and reflection of preservice teacherdevelopment, and she has authored several peer-reviewed manuscripts in these areas.Dr. La Paro works on both research and community projects focused on professionaldevelopment for both in-service and preservice teachers utilizing innovative strategies forsupervision, coaching, and mentoring. She spent several years as research faculty withThe Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human DevelopmentStudy of Early Child Care as well as the National Center for Early Development andLearning at the University of Virginia.

Jennifer LoCasale-Crouch, Ph.D. is a research assistant professor at the University of Virginia's Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning (CASTL). Her areas of expertise in which she has authored multiple peer-reviewed manuscripts include classroom observation, supporting children's successful transition to kindergarten, professional development that supports teachers' effective classroom interactions and ways to implement such supports with high degrees of fidelity.

Dr. LoCasale-Crouch has worked with the Office of Head Start in training staff to implement the roll out of CLASS™, and also has worked with multiple Head Start grantees across the country in their kindergarten transition planning development. Dr. LoCasale-Crouch is also a co-investigator on three recently funded IES grants designed to enhance the supportive ways teachers interact with children, particularly those at-risk. Dr. LoCasale-Crouch received her bachelor and master's degrees from the Florida State University, and her doctorate in risk and prevention in education sciences from the University of Virginia.

Robert C. Pianta, Ph.D., is Dean of the Curry School of Education, Director of the Center for Advanced Study in Teaching and Learning and Novartis U.S. Foundation Professor of Education at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. A former special education teacher, Dr. Pianta is a developmental, school, and clinical child psychologist whose work focuses on assessment and improvement o

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Read an Excerpt

Excerpted from Chapters 1 and 3 of Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) Manual, K–3, by by Robert C. Pianta, Ph.D., Karen M. La Paro, Ph.D., & Bridget K. Hamre, Ph.D.

Copyright © 2008 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


The CLASS provides a mechanism through which researchers, policymakers, and practitioners can collect standardized information on the quality of classroom environments from preschool through third grade. Uses of the CLASS include the following:


The CLASS may be used in large or small studies of young students in which researchers want a measure of classroom processes that are 1) linked to students' concurrent school performance and 2) associated with students' development and behavior over time. The CLASS has been used successfully as a part of large research projects documenting the quality of classroom environments across the early grades as well as in evaluation studies seeking to determine whether school–based programs affect classroom processes.

Accountability Efforts

The unprecedented level of investment in and attention to early education has taken place in the context of a policy climate that emphasizes accountability. In particular, when public funds are spent for education, educational providers are increasingly held responsible for their contribution to children's academic and social development. Accountability assessments typically rest on direct evaluation of students. Adopting policies and practices that view direct assessment of students as the only means for ensuring accountability of early education and elementary classrooms is markedly limited for young students for a number of reasons. Direct assessment of young students is known to be less reliable and valid than direct assessment of older students, in large part because younger students' competencies are fairly unstable and situationally dependent (La Paro & Pianta, 2000). Furthermore, because the competencies of students are in large part dependent on the quality of their experiences in educational settings, it makes sense to assess, for accountability purposes, the quality of those settings (Pianta, 2003). In short, when determining accountability in early education classrooms, it may be better to focus on developmental inputs rather than outputs. The CLASS allows for a direct assessment of these inputs.

Program Planning and Evaluation

For programs seeking to improve the quality of their classroom offerings, the CLASS provides a standardized mechanism for assessing classroom–level factors that are amenable to intervention. For example, by administering the CLASS in all K—3 classrooms in a district, administrators may identify systemwide strengths and develop plans for making systematic improvements in areas of weakness. Districts may find that their teachers display high–quality emotional supports and organization but are weaker than teachers in other districts in the instructional areas. They may use that information to plan for a set of workshops aimed at improving teacher knowledge and implementation of high–quality instructional strategies.

Professional Development and Supervision

The CLASS may be used to provide teachers with direct feedback about their actual classroom practices. Teachers can be observed and provided with feedback at regular intervals during the school year. Using the CLASS in this way allows teachers to get feedback about the dimensions of their teaching that are associated with more positive social and academic development for students. In addition, they are given an objective and concrete measurement of their areas of strength and weakness as well as their improve

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Table of Contents

About the Authors

  1. Introduction
    Theoretical and Empirical Foundations
    CLASS Domains
    Uses of the CLASS
    CLASS Training

  2. Observing Classrooms with the CLASS
    General Live Observation Procedure
    Alternative Observation Procedure
    Scoring with the CLASS

  3. CLASS Dimensions
    Positive Climate
    Negative Climate
    Teacher Sensitivity
    Regard for Student Perspectives
    Behavior Management
    Instructional Learning Formats
    Concept Development
    Quality of Feedback
    Language Modeling

Technical Appendix

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