CQEL – Childcare Quality & Early Learning: Center for research and professional developement

Assessments Used by CQEL

Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS™)

The Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS™) is an observational tool designed to quantitatively measure effective adult-child interactions in early care and educational environments. The CLASS™ tool has been validated in more than 3000 early care and classroom settings, where children in programs scoring higher on CLASS™ tend to perform better in both academic and social development. Use of the CLASS™ tool allows program staff to evaluate the effectiveness of their adult-child interactions and provides them with key information for program improvement. There are currently CLASS™ products for three age ranges: Infant/Toddler, Pre-K, and K-12.

CQEL has staff certified on all three published measures, as well as having certified Trainers on the Pre-K measure. For further information about CLASS™, please visit Brookes Publishing online.

For more information on how CLASS™ is used in Washington State’s QRIS, Early Achievers, check out our Early Achievers CLASS™ Protocol document.

Two girls playing

Environment Rating Scales (ERS)

The Environment Rating Scales (ERS) are designed to measure the quality of early learning environments by looking for the presence of specific indicators that are predictive of positive child outcomes. These indicators are spread over seven subscales:

  • Space and Furnishings
  • Personal Care Routines
  • Language-Reasoning
  • Interaction
  • Program Structure, and
  • Parents and Staff

Washington State’s QRIS program, Early Achievers, uses the Environment Rating Scales to evaluate a random sample of classrooms in participating programs and family childcare homes. Each ERS evaluation consists of a three hour classroom observation followed by a 20 minute interview with the lead teacher. The scales are used widely across the United States as a component of state Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS), because they have been validated in the United States and internationally as a reliable measure of classroom quality.  More information about the reliability and validity of the scales can be found on ERSI’s website.

More questions about the ERS? See our ERS Considerations document.

Language Environment Analysis System (LENA)

The LENA Research Foundation has leveraged existing research on child development along with the combined expertise of their engineers, researchers, linguists, and speech-language experts to create a digital language processor (DLP) that captures the language environment experienced by any children present. Each vocalization by an adult or child in the environment is recorded and analyzed to provide feedback to caregivers in the following areas:

  • Adult words
  • Conversational turns
  • Child vocalizations
  • Developmental age
  • Breakdown of audio components in the environment

Using speech-recognition software, the LENA DLP is able to differentiate between child crying or vegetative sounds and speech, as well as between speech and background radio or television noise. CQEL uses the LENA system during Early Achievers data collection to capture the language environment present in the participant’s facility. For more information on LENA, please visit the LENA Research Foundation online.

Children with Teacher on Playground

For more information on how LENA is used in Washington State’s QRIS, Early Achievers, check out our Overview of Language and LENA document.