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CLASS™ Classroom Assessment Scoring System

“Teaching is an extraordinarily hard job, and managing the complex and dynamic classroom environment can be overwhelming. What we do is provide tools to give teachers a "frame" for working in that environment and a sense of the various ways that they can impact the countless interactions that make up their day in a way that maximizes learning opportunities for every student.”

– Bob Pianta, Dean, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia and Teachstone co-founder

What is the CLASS™ Tool?

Northern Panhandle Head Start uses the Classroom Assessment Scoring System™ (CLASS™), an observational tool that provides a common lens and language focused on what matters—the classroom interactions that boost student learning. CLASS focuses on effective teaching and helps teachers recognize and understand the power of their interactions with students.

  • Data from CLASS™ observations are used to support teachers’ unique professional development needs, set school-wide goals, and shape system-wide reform at the local, state, and national levels.
  • The CLASS™ tool works. CLASS™-based professional development tools increase teacher effectiveness—and students in classrooms with higher CLASS™ scores achieve at higher levels than their peers in classrooms with lower CLASS™ scores.
  • CLASS is a tool that helps assess the quality of teacher-child interactions and can help strengthen the qualities of our programs by focusing on something that we know is so important to a young child’s life—supportive relationships built on quality interactions.  
    –Amanda Bryans, Director, Educational Development and Partnerships Division, Office of Head Start

CLASS™ Observations
CLASS™ Observations break down the complex classroom environment to help educators focus on boosting the effectiveness of their interactions with learners of all ages. Observations rely on categorizing interactions within the CLASS™ framework.


The CLASS™ tool organizes teacher-student interactions into three broad domains:

  • Emotional Support
  • Classroom Organization
  • Instructional Support


Within each of these domains, interactions are further organized into multiple dimensions. Dimension examples include:

  • Positive Climate—focuses on how teachers interact with children to develop warm relationships that promote children’s enjoyment of the classroom community.
  • Concept Development—focuses on how teachers interact with children to promote higher-order thinking and cognition.

The Creative Curriculum for Early Childhood

The Philosophy

The philosophy behind our curriculum is that young children learn best by doing. Learning isn't just repeating what someone else says; it requires active thinking and experimenting to find out how things work and to learn firsthand about the world we live in.
In their early years, children explore the world around them by using all their senses (touching, tasting, listening, smelling, and looking). In using real materials such as blocks and trying out their ideas, children learn about sizes, shapes, and colors and they notice relationships between things.

Play provides the foundation for academic or "school" learning. It is the preparation children need as they learn highly abstract symbols such as letters and numbers. Play enables us to achieve the key goals of our early childhood curriculum. Play is the work of young children.

The Goals of Our Curriculum

The most important goal of our early childhood curriculum is to help children become enthusiastic learners. This means encouraging children to be active and creative explorers who are not afraid to try out their ideas and to think their own thoughts. Our goal is to help children become independent, self-confident, inquisitive learners. We're teaching them how to learn, not just in preschool, but all through their lives. We're allowing them to learn at their own pace and in the ways that are best for them. We're giving them good habits and attitudes, particularly a positive sense of themselves, which will make a difference throughout their lives.  Our curriculum identifies goals in all areas of development. Click here for details.

View School Readiness PDF

The activities we plan for children, the way we organize the environment, select toys and materials, plan the daily schedule, and talk with children, are all designed to accomplish the goals of our curriculum and give your child a successful start in school. Click here to view classroom learning areas and the skills children can experience as they participate.

View Creative Curriculum PDF

The Family's Role

Home and school are a young child's two most important worlds. Children must bridge these two worlds every day. If home and school are connected in positive and respectful ways, children feel secure. Teachers can build a true partnership when they truly value the family's role in a child's education and recognize how much they can accomplish by working with families. Working together, parents and educators can do a lot to support the development of these important life skills. Parents will receive handouts explaining what children learn in each of the classroom areas and what they can do at home to develop their child’s mind and bodies.
Teaching Strategies Preschool Edition Fidelity Tool for Administration is designed to assess the degree to which the Creative Curriculum is being implemented in the ways the developers intended.  Data about a teacher’s use of the curriculum and assessment are collected during a classroom observation and an interview with the teacher.  The evidence of implementation is rated and scores can be calculated to describe overall fidelity and implementation of particular resources. Programs demonstrating strong fidelity are more likely to have a positive impact on child outcomes.

Early Learning Reporting System (ELRS)

Early Learning Reporting System (ELRS) was developed by the National Institute of Early Education Research (NIEER). ELRS is an on-going observation-based performance assessment. Teachers assess preschool children’s progress toward learning and this provides the teachers with valuable data to inform instruction and improve student learning across domains. The content included in the domains are measurable, developed on a continuum, and are critical to present and future learning. 

The ELRS Domains are:

  • Math/Science
  • Social-Emotional/Social Studies
  • Language and Literacy

Data is analyzed 3 times per year.  Instruction is formed by the data collected. Teachers use the data to implement new activities, create new situations, provide new materials, and guide their instruction with students.  NPHS uses the data to ensure that School Readiness Goals are being met for preschoolers.  The data is collected from each center and a program report is developed.  The data informs professional development, individualized training/instruction, and education staff training needs.

For more information please contact:

Education/Training Manager
1 Orchard Road, Wheeling, WV 26003
304-233-3290, Extension 5019