Classroom Observation Instruments

Using Competency-Based Assessment to Drive Teacher Excellence

There is no one method will sufficiently answer all critical educational questions. Multiple measures or indicators of teaching are needed to help capture a more comprehensive picture of what goes on in classrooms. Observation is one of the methods through which we assess the quality of teaching and learn how to develop further.

Classroom Observation is a process by which a consultant sits in on one or more class sessions, records the instructor’s teaching practices and student actions, and then meets with the teacher to discuss the observations.

The main purpose behind the classroom observation is to allow a teacher to get feedback from an objective, experienced observer and to involve in context-specific discussions about teaching with adviser.

The process of observation and evaluation require a very high degree of professional ethics and objectivity. Effective peer observation requires training in observational and analytical skills.

Classroom Observation Instruments

There are several types of observational procedures that have been used to examine effective teaching (e.g., charts, rating scales, checklists, and narrative descriptions). Some of the widely used Classroom Observation Instruments:

  • Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) instrument

The Classroom Assessment Scoring System™ was developed by Robert Pianta at the University of Virginia, Curry School of Education, Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning (CASTL).

  • Stallings Observation System (SOS)
  • Brophy-Good Dyadic Interaction System
  • Attending Round Observation System’ (AROS)
  • Code for Instructional Structure and Student Academic Response’ (CISSAR)
  • The Flourishing Classroom Observation Measure (FCOM)
  • Classroom Observation Measure (COM)

Both the SOS and the CISSAR were designed for elementary and secondary education settings and involve recording teachers’ and students’ overt behaviors for short periods at specified time intervals.

Example of a Classroom Observation Tool


Please respond to the following questions by placing a mark in the appropriate box as they relate to your course and instructor

Very Evident Evident Somewhat Evident Not Observed
4 3 2 1
Professional Knowledge
1. Addresses appropriate curriculum standards
2. Facilitates students’ use of higher level thinking skills
3. Demonstrates ability to link present content with past and future learning
4. Demonstrates an accurate knowledge of the subject matter checking for understanding
5. Demonstrates skills relevant to subject area(s) utilizing best practices based on current research
6. Bases instruction on goals that reflect high expectations
7. Demonstrates an understanding of the knowledge of development
Instructional Planning
8. Analyses and uses student learning data to inform planning.
9. Plans instruction and time for realistic pacing
10. Plans for differentiated instruction
11. Develops appropriate long- and short-range plans and adapts plans
12. Coordinates plans with appropriate colleagues
Instructional Delivery
13. Addresses individual learning differences
14. Uses rigorous instructional strategies Use instructional technology
15. Engages students
16. Builds on prior knowledge Communicates clearly
17. Maximizes instructional learning time
Assessment of and for Student Learning
18. Analyses data from benchmarks
19. Uses assessment tools based on division curriculum and pacing guides
20. Uses a variety of valid, appropriate assessments
21. Maintains assessment information
22. Uses pre-/post-assessment data on each student
23. Maintains appropriate records
24. Gives constructive feedback

Classroom Observation

The main purpose of the classroom observation is to allow a teacher to get feedback from an objective, experienced observer and to involve in context-specific discussions about teaching with adviser.