Automating the Measurement and Assessment of Classroom Discourse

Using cutting edge research in speech recognition, discourse classification, and natural language understanding, we will develop CLASS 5.0, a computer program that will automatically transcribe and code classroom discourse. CLASS 5.0 will build on the demonstrated success of previous versions of CLASS that have significantly correlated features and patterns of classroom discourse with student achievement in middle and high school reading and literature classes. A controlled experimental study supported use of CLASS in professional development. CLASS 5.0 will seek to replicate the performance and expand the use of CLASS 4.24 yet operate automatically, enabling scale up of CLASS.

CLASS is a Windows laptop computer program developed by Martin Nystrand at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) for the in-class analysis of classroom discourse. Not to be confused with the University of Virginia’s TeachStone pen-and-paper instrument, CLASS, which first appeared in 2009 and is used in professional development, CLASS (2.0, 3.0, 4.0, and now 5.0 under development) is a research tool developed since 1988 under the auspices of three national research centers (The National Center on Effective Secondary Schools, 1985-90); the National Center on Organization and Restructuring of Schools, 1990-95; and the National Research Center on English Learning and Achievement, 1996-2001) and has been funded through 2016 by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute for Educational Studies to develop a new version that will autonomously measure and assess key indices of classroom discourse. No observer or research assistant data collector is needed, there is nothing intrusive in classrooms, and no violation of teacher or student identity. Just a super smart phone app-like device and some microphones autonomously process classroom discourse. Nystrand's "Class Language Assessment System (CLASS)" is recognized by the American Institutes for Research's Center on Great Teachers and Leaders.

CLASS has been used in several large-scale empirical studies across the United States and was key to finding the first empirical support ever for the role of open-ended discussion in literature instruction:

- Nystrand, M., & Gamoran, A. The Stratification of Learning Opportunities in Middle and High School.” National Center on Effective Secondary Schools, 1985-90

- Nystrand, M., & Gamoran, A. Discourse Environment and Student Achievement (the National Center on Organization and Restructuring of Schools, 1990-1995

- Applebee, A., Langer, J., Nystrand, M., & Gamoran, A. Discussion-Based Approaches to Developing Understanding: Classroom Instruction and Student Performance in Middle and High School English, National Center on English Learning and Achievement, 1996-2001.

-  Langer, J., Applebee, A., Nystrand, M., & Gamoran, A. The Partnership for Literacy: A Study of Professional Development, Instructional Change and Student Growth. National Center on English Learning and Achievement, 1996-2001.

CLASS has become a stock in trade for much empirical research on classroom discourse and has been regularly cited in major published research papers as a key tool in the collection of classroom data. The most recent version of CLASS, 4.24, works only on Windows XP. CLASS 5.0, under development, will be available for multiple platforms.

CLASS is now available as CLASS 4.25 as follows:

- Win 7/8 installation. See the README for instructions:

- XP installation. Also see the README:

After you have followed the instructions above, please download "Class 4.25.exe" and put it in the correct folder. The download link is here:



Completed on July 31, 2017