CLASS is a computer program first developed by Martin Nystrand at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) for the in-class analysis of classroom discourse. It is a research tool used to build profiles of classroom interaction and to investigate the effects of classroom discourse on student achievment. Not to be confused with the University of Virginia's TeachStone pen-and-paper instrument first appearing in 2009 and used in professional development, CLASS 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).
Nystrand has been funded through to 2016 by the US Department of Education's Institute for Educational Studies (IES) to develop CLASS 5.0, which will autonomously measure and assess key indices of classroom discourse. His colleagues in this work are Prof. Sean Kelly (Pittsburgh) and colleagues at the Institute for Intelligent Systems, including Profs. Art Graesser and Andrew Olney at the University of Memphis and Sidney D'Mello at Notre Dame. When CLASS 5.0 is developed, no observer or research assistant data collector will be needed to collect, analyze, and build expert profiles of productive classroom discourese, nothing intrusive in classrooms, no violation of teacher or student identity. Just a super smart phone app-like device and some microphones that autonomously process classroom discourse. CLASS 5.0 has the potential to revolutionize professional development by enabling teachers to do it themselves.
CLASS 5.0, under development, will be available for multiple platforms.