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Cracking the Code: How to Interpret the CLASS Score Report as a Coach

29 Apr 2015 by Nikki Croasdale

Does the CLASS score report look like gibberish to you? Are you unsure of how to interpret the data and turn it into a usable form for coaching purposes? Let us be your Rosetta Stone.

One thing to note is that there is no one right way to prepare a CLASS score report. Some organizations may choose to use the Scoring Summary Sheet provided on the last page of the CLASS score sheet booklet, while others may produce their own report and include such things as a written narrative or a comparison of a classroom’s scores across time or against a program’s overall scores. Because each organization has its own goals and protocols, score reports can differ quite a bit. For this reason, if you have questions about a specific report, we urge you to contact the observer who conducted the observation or the organization that provided the report.

With that being said, here’s some general guidance about interpreting a CLASS score report and using it for coaching purposes.

Deciphering the numbers and lingo

You may see numerical scores (1-7), ranges (low, mid, and high), or perhaps both listed for each dimension. The CLASS tool uses ranges to describe different levels of effectiveness.

Low range (codes 1 & 2) means that the interactions observed are of minimal effectiveness. Effective interactions happened rarely, if ever, and when they did, they were isolated, brief, or of low quality.

Mid range (codes 3-5) means that effective interactions are observed sometimes or to some degree but are inconsistent or limited.

High range (codes 6 & 7) means that effective interactions are observed with consistency. The observer noted frequent, sustained, high-quality interactions across the observation.

Numerical scores help to even more specifically pinpoint the level of effectiveness observed in the classroom for a particular dimension and may be averaged to find domain-level scores. See the sample Scoring Summary Sheet in chapter 2 of the manual for an example of this.

Identifying strengths and growth areas

Look for strengths and areas with room to grow. In general, strengths will be dimensions falling in the high range, while areas with room to grow will be dimensions falling in the low to mid range.

We suggest picking out just a couple areas to focus on at one time to keep the feedback you’re providing to the teacher focused and the goals you’re setting attainable. You might hone in on dimensions of focus by choosing the lowest scoring dimension within each domain and consider how the teacher might improve the effectiveness of her interactions in these areas.

Picking out the details

Pull out relevant examples of interactions from the observation notes to share with the teacher. Examples might include, “Teacher gave the children a choice about which center to play in” or “Teacher asked mostly closed ended questions, such as ‘What shape is this?’” Feedback works best when it’s specific so that the teacher knows exactly what the observer saw in her classroom and has some concrete examples of what she is doing right and what she could work on.

Be sure to pay attention to variation and consistency of interactions. As you’re preparing for your feedback session, you might make note of details about the observation cycles, such as time of day, format, and content of activities. This will allow you to see if the teacher’s interactions are more or less effective during certain times of the day or during particular activities. If one cycle was more effective than another, you’ll want to encourage the teacher to consider the reason for this and help her find ways to translate the effective strategies used in that cycle across the day.

Remaining objective

Remember to keep an objective, CLASS-based approach. Rather than basing your feedback on your own opinions or ideas about what makes teaching effective, use the data and specific behavioral evidence from the report to help guide your discussions with the teacher.





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