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Classroom Assessment Resources

Resources to support implementation of CLASS and CLASS Environment in the California State Preschool Program.

The California Department of Education (CDE) has chosen the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS®) and CLASS® Environment as the classroom assessment scoring system for the California State Preschool Programs (CSPP) pursuant to the requirements of Section 106 of Senate Bill 114 (Chapter 48, Statutes of 2023).

As CDE continues to align Universal Prekindergarten (UPK) efforts across California and support a system of high-quality prekindergarten learning experiences for all children, the CDE is focused on how to best support an educator-first system of improving adult-child interactions and enhancing equity for all children. To support this goal the CDE is implementing CLASS 2nd Edition® and the CLASS Environment tool across all CSPPs, and investing in a regional and statewide support system through the Achieving Success in Positive Interactions Relationships and Environment (ASPIRE) program. A broad literature of more than 200 independent empirical research studies substantiate the positive effects the CLASS tool and coaching has on early learning programs and outcomes for children.

CLASS is widely used across the country by the Office of Head Start and in more than 10 other states as a quality monitoring tool for their state-funded preschool programs. Pursuant to California Education Code Section 8203.1, the CDE administers the CSPP Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS) Block Grant, which is allocated to local Quality Counts California (QCC) with the intention of supporting the local early learning QRIS. In California, the CLASS has been utilized for many years as a quality component of California’s QRIS system in which 2,461 of the 3,449 CSPP sites participated during FY 2020–21. The CLASS is required within every Head Start program to measure quality and support quality improvement within their programs. Many CSPP contractors are also grantees of the federal Head Start program.

This page includes the following:

Information on Requirements for Implementing CLASS and CLASS Environment

  • Management Bulletin (MB) 23-10
  • Frequently Asked Questions (Coming Soon)
  • Data and Reporting Instructions for CLASS and CLASS Environment (Coming Soon)

CLASS Webinar Series

Information on CLASS 2nd Edition

CLASS stands for Classroom Assessment Scoring System and measures the quality of the interactions teachers have with children which impact learning and development. CLASS is an observation tool developed to assess these interactions across three areas: Emotional Support, Classroom Management, and Instructional Support. CLASS also supports continuous quality improvement that enables high-quality interactions.

The CLASS instrument is an empirically validated system originally developed by University of Virginia's Center for the Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning (CASTL) at the Curry School of Education. Delivery of the CLASS tool and supporting professional development and technical assistance is provided by Teachstone®. CLASS has been shown to produce gains in children’s math, literacy, social, emotional, and cognitive abilities. Specifically, CLASS and CLASS Environment are observation instruments that assess the quality of teacher child interactions and the physical learning environment in preschool classrooms.

CLASS 2nd Edition updates the original CLASS® 2008 tool, with a focus on three priority areas:

  1. Centering on equity to ensure CLASS reflects and supports the diverse communities it serves,
  2. Increasing the accessibility and ease of use for CLASS users, and
  3. Measuring for impact to drive actionable insights for educators to make optimal improvements in the areas that matter most for children.

CLASS 2nd Edition was developed in close consultation and collaboration with experts, including educators, from varied and diverse backgrounds and with expertise representing a range of settings and perspectives, including extensive engagement of the California early childhood community.

California's historical use of the CLASS tool to measure interactions and support coaching options in mixed delivery programs creates an opportunity to efficiently transition existing infrastructure—currently certified CLASS observers, trainers, and coaches—to the CLASS 2nd Edition. The transition to the CLASS 2nd Edition in California’s state subsidized programs is currently specific to the prekindergarten (pre-K) tool.

Resources

Information on CLASS Environment

CLASS Environment is used with the CLASS 2nd edition to measure and improve the features of the learning environment that matter most for supporting high quality interactions between teachers and children. CLASS Environment measures 29 specific elements of the environment alongside CLASS 2nd Edition, which helps to reduce time spent observing with multiple tools, further streamline data collection and reporting, and strengthen opportunities for efficiency and impact. Teachstone closely collaborated with experts representing diverse backgrounds to develop the CLASS Environment and create a measure that supports educators working in diverse settings, including programs serving multilingual learners (MLLs),children with disabilities, and children from diverse cultural and racial backgrounds. Throughout the measure, items reflect the most important ways the environment can support children by providing equitable, diverse, and inclusive materials, displays, and arrangements.

Resources

Funding for Achieving Success in Positive Interactions, Relationships, and Environments (ASPIRE) Program

The ASPIRE program is funded by Provision 6 of Item 6100-194-0001 and Provision 6 of Item 6100-196-0001 of the Budget Act of 2023 (Assembly Bill (AB) 102, [Chapter 38, Statutes of 2023]). According to AB 102, a total of $1,075,000 was allocated to the CDE on an ongoing basis to support the use of CLASS as a tool to strengthen teacher-child interactions and to support continuous quality improvement. In addition, Section 106 of Senate Bill (SB) 114 (Chapter 48, Statutes of 2023) was adopted requiring the CDE to issue guidance to implement the tool funded through the Budget Act, until formal regulations can be initiated on or before December 31, 2024. That guidance, Management Bulletin 23-10, sets forth requirements that all CSPPs implement CLASS and CLASS Environment according to the timeline and in the manner prescribed in the MB.

The ASPIRE program was developed to support the implementation of the CLASS and CLASS environment requirements set forth in MB 23-10. In addition to the $1.075 million in funding awarded in the 2023 Budget Act, $2.5 million in funding for year one and two of the ASPIRE program comes from AB 210 (Chapter 62, Statutes of 2022) which appropriated up to $50 million to the CDE to address state-level systems building and align local practice with the research and practice-based strategies that support inclusive classrooms and effective teacher-child interactions for all children.

Resources

Information on How CLASS Supports Inclusion

CLASS has been implemented across diverse settings, including those serving children with disabilities. CLASS domains and dimensions describe interactions that support the learning and development of children with diverse backgrounds, experiences, abilities, and needs across a variety of setting types. For example, below are indicator definitions of the Regard for Child Perspectives dimension. They highlight the CLASS tools' inclusivity of variations in interactions. These aspects are particularly relevant when observing in settings serving children with disabilities.

  • Activities reflect children’s interests.
  • Children are encouraged to share in both verbal and nonverbal ways.
  • Children have opportunities to wiggle, move, stand, and fidget.

In the Support for Autonomy and Leadership and Child Expression indicators, observers can capture the ways educators:

  • Adapt or modify materials so that children can fully engage with them.
  • Adapt or modify activities so that children can contribute in meaningful ways.

As part of its work to expand opportunities and improve services for young children with disabilities, the CDE will provide resources and training to CSPPs to utilize the CLASS system and support early educators that work with children with disabilities. The CLASS system supports these educators by:

  • Providing resources that will support their understanding of the tool and the importance of interactions that support children's success.
  • Describing interactions using more equitable and inclusive definitions of effectiveness in CLASS training, videos, and materials for educators, leaders, and observers.
  • Assuring that CLASS Observers are trained and prepared to observe across all settings, with special support provided around observing in settings serving children with disabilities.

Resources

  • As educators interact with children with disabilities, they connect in ways that cultivate emotionally supportive relationships, engage learners in ways that create a context for learning, and leverage instructional support tailored to the needs of each child in order to inspire learning. The resources on Teachstone's CLASS and Children with Disabilities Resource page External link opens in new window or tab. are designed to guide efforts to use CLASS to capture these interactions.
Questions:   Early Education Division | 916-322-6233
Last Reviewed: Thursday, April 18, 2024
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