All About the CLASS

Useful CLASS® Resources

What is the Classroom Assessment Scoring System® (CLASS®) and What Does It Measure?

The Classroom Assessment Scoring System® (CLASS®) is an observation instrument that was developed to assess effective teacher-child interactions in infant, toddler and preschool classrooms and settings. The CLASS® was designed to create a common metric and vocabulary that could be used to describe various aspects of effective teaching across ages and contexts.  We know, through research, that structure is mediated by process—that the “whats” of quality teaching (structural features such as books, curricula, lesson plans) matter only through the “hows” of quality teaching (how teachers use time and materials to get the most out of every moment). It is about fundamentally improving teaching and learning. From research, we know that interactions matter more than a teacher’s degree, length of experience, or number of toys and books in the classroom. It is teacher-child interactions that drive learning.

How was the CLASS® developed? Can I trust this tool?

Developed to make teacher-child interactions objective and measurable, CLASS® is based on many years of studies, publications, and replications across different classrooms. The research that the CLASS® is based on verifies that the interactions measured by the CLASS® tool make a real difference in children’s learning and development.

How do CLASS® observations work?

CLASS® observation procedures require observers to watch, without interruption, activities in the program and/or outside for 15 minutes. This 15 minute observation period is called a cycle, and it is the source of information that will determine codes or ratings assigned to the CLASS® dimensions. During an observation cycle, observers attend carefully to teachers' instructions and behaviors with the children. At the end of the 15 minute cycle, observers step out of the program area and assign numerical ratings for each of the CLASS® dimensions. After assigning ratings, observers begin a new CLASS® observation cycle. Each classroom/age group will receive three 15 minute cycles.   

Can I do a practice CLASS® observation?

Absolutely! Bright & Early ND will work with your program to find a date that works best. After your practice observation has been completed, your Coach will review your summary report details with you, and help you set up a continuous quality improvement plan. Taking advantage of the practice observation allows you to make changes as needed and feel prepared for your Quality Rating observation.

The thought of a CLASS® observation scares me. How can I overcome this?

It’s normal to be scared. In fact, it’s weird not to be a little nervous! Use your feelings to your advantage by being well prepared. Consider tips to prepare for your observation:

  • Read through the CLASS®
  • Familiarize yourself with the CLASS® Dimension Guides that correlate with the age groups that you care for.
  • Check out the CLASS® resources available on the Teachstone website:

Will the CLASS® work in my program? Family Child Care is different from Center Child Care.

The CLASS® works with all different types of programs. There is a tool for each age group: Infant, Toddler, and Preschool aged children. Remember, CLASS® looks at interactions; provider/child and child/child interactions. There are many opportunities to engage in interactions with children regardless of the setting’s space, materials, or furnishings.

What if my observation scores do not meet the threshold needed to become Quality Rated at Step 4?

Your average program score to become Quality Rated needs to meet the minimum thresholds below:

  • Infant CLASS®
    • Responsive Caregiving 4.0
  • Toddler CLASS®
    • Emotional Support 5.0
    • Engaged Support for Learning 3.5
  • Pre-K CLASS®
    • Emotional Support 5.0
    • Classroom Organization 5.0
    • Instructional Support 3.0

If your scores do not meet the minimum threshold, you can apply for the next cohort to try again.