Observing Classroom Practices with the Classroom Assessment Scoring System – Secondary (CLASS-S): A Scoping Review, and Preliminary Reliability and Validity Study in Alberta, Canada

  • Author / Creator
    Hayes, Stephanie A.
  • Delivering quality instruction that fosters student learning is a complex and challenging task for teachers, particularly given the evolving needs of 21st century education (Downer, Jamil, Maier, & Pianta, 2012; McCombs, 2013). Despite a long tradition of classroom observations in educational research, researchers have only recently given more attention to standardized observational systems of classroom quality. In particular, researchers have recognized standardized observations might acknowledge the complexity of classroom practices, allow for contrasts across diverse educational settings, and support teacher development and accountability initiatives (Cantrell & Kane, 2013). One such observational protocol, the Classroom Assessment Scoring System – Secondary (CLASS-S), has been used as an observational tool in a variety of research examining quality classroom practices in middle and high schools in the United States (Pianta, Hamre, & Mintz, 2012). Emerging support for its use outside of the United States has also been published in the United Kingdom (Malmberg, Hagger, Burn, Mutton, & Colls, 2010), Finland (Virtanen, Pakarinen, Lerkkanen, Poikkeus, Siekkinen, & Nurmi, 2018), and Norway (Westergård, Ertesvåg, & Rafaelsen, 2018). Researchers have found evidence that higher quality classroom practices, as measured by the CLASS-S, are associated with positive student outcomes (e.g., Allen, Pianta, Gregory, Mikami, & Lun, 2011; Culp, Martin, Clements, & Presser, 2015; Kane & Staiger, 2012; Virtanen, Lerkkanen, Poikkeus, & Kuorelahti, 2015). The present research had two aims: 1) to provide a systematic scoping review of the use of the CLASS-S in internationally published research in middle and high school classrooms and; 2) to explore the reliability and validity of the CLASS-S, drawing from a sample of 39 middle school teachers who participated in a larger research project across five different educational jurisdictions in Alberta, Canada. In brief, the scoping review examined the use of the CLASS-S in published literature, mapped key themes addressed by authors, presented findings about the relationship between the CLASS-S and student outcomes, and identified gaps and summarized recommendations for the future use of the CLASS-S. Despite identifying more research is needed to support the use of CLASS-S; this tool has the potential to enrich our knowledge of educational practices, support teachers’ classroom practices, and enhance teacher-student interactions in middle and high school settings. Furthermore, findings from the preliminary reliability and validity study of the CLASS-S identified emerging support for its use in Alberta, Canada. Finally, recommendations for further research to deepen the emerging evidence-base and contribute to our understanding of the complexities of classroom practices as captured by the CLASS-S are summarized.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2018
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
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