The CLASS tool is used to measure the effectiveness of teacher or caregiver interactions with students. Trained observers assess three primary domains: emotional support, classroom organization, and instructional support. Within each of these domains, teachers' behavior is scored on a 7-point scale, where 1 indicates a desired behavior was not often observed and 7 indicates the behavior was prevalent.
Positive and effective interactions between teachers and students are essential to the learning process, just as negativity and lack of structure inhibit learning. National research shows that students in classrooms with higher CLASS scores tend to perform better academically than those in classrooms with lower CLASS scores. Measuring the effectiveness of teacher-student interactions helps schools and programs to identify professional development opportunities and school-wide goals for improvement.
In 2016, the overall CLASS score for 126 observed Rochester UPK classrooms was 5.5. The overall CLASS score for 47 observed Rochester EPK classrooms was 5.3. The classrooms scored higher in emotional support (6.5 UPK and 6.4 EPK) and classroom organization (6.1 UPK and 5.9 EPK) in 2016, compared to about 4 in instructional support for both groups.
The 2016 scores were broken out for UPK (4-year-olds) and EPK (3-year-olds). The CLASS assessment was not conducted prior to 2010. Overall CLASS score was calculated as the mean of the 3 subscale scores for each year. Students are assessed as part of the Rochester Early Childhood Assessment Partnership aimed at promoting quality pre-K classrooms within the City of Rochester.