Professor Martin Nystrand: Research

CLASS: A Windows Laptop Computer System for the

In-Class Analysis of Classroom Discourse

  • CLASS 4.25[download]
  • CLASS 4 Documentation and Coding Manual [zip]

    CLASS program 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) and has been funded through to 2016 by the US 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 needed, 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 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:

  • Caughlan, S. (2003). Exploring the Gap Between Espoused and Enacted Cultural Models of Literature Discussion. 52nd Yearbook. Literacy Research Association, pp. 150-161.
  • Caughlan, S., Juzwik, M. M., & Adler, M. (2008). From research to practice: Recontextualizing the CLASS program across boundaries. English Education, 41(1), 66-86.
  • Caughlan, S., & Kelly, S. (2004, August). Bridging Methodological Gaps: Instructional and Institutional Effects of Tracking in Two English Classes. Research in the Teaching of English, 39, 20-62.
  • Christoph, J. & Nystrand, M. (2001, November). Taking risks, negotiating relationships: One teacher's transition toward a dialogic classroom. Research in the Teaching of English, 36, 249- 286.
  • Gamoran, A., & Nystrand, M. (1994). Tracking, instruction, and achievement. International Journal of Educational Research, 21, 217-131.
  • Gamoran, A., & Nystrand, M. (1991). Background and instructional effects on achievement in eighth-grade English and social studies. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 1, 277-300.
  • Gamoran, A., & Nystrand, M. (1992). Taking students seriously. In F. Newmann (Ed.), Student Engagement and Achievement in American Schools (pp. 40-61). New York: Teachers College Press.
  • Gamoran, A., Nystrand, M., Berends, M., & LePore, P. (1995, Winter). An organizational analysis of the effects of ability grouping. American Educational Research Journal, 32, 687-716.
  • Heintz, A., Borsheim, C., Caughlan, S., Juzwik, M. M., & Sherry, M. B. (2010). Video-based response & revision: Dialogic instruction using video and web 2.0 technologies. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 10(2). Retrieved from
  • Juzwik, M., Nystrand, M., Kelly, S., & Sherry, M. (2008). Oral Narrative genres as dialogic resources for classroom literature study: A contextualized case study. American Educational Research Journal, 45, 1111-1154.
  • Juzwik, M. & Sherry, M. B. (2007). Expressive language and the art of English teaching: Theorizing the relationship between literature and oral narrative. English Education, 39(3), 226-259.
  • Kelly, S. (2010, May). A Crisis of Authority in Predominantly Black Schools. Teachers College Record, 112(5), 1247-1274
  • Kelly, S. (2007). Classroom discourse and the distribution of student engagement. Social Psychology of Education, 10, pp. 331-352.
  • Kelly, S. (2009). Social identity theories and educational engagement. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 30(4), 449-462.
  • Kelly, S. (2008, January). What Types of Students' Effort Are Rewarded with High Marks? Sociology of Education, 81(1), pp. 32-52.
  • Kelly, S., & Turner, J. (2009, July). Rethinking the Effects of Classroom Activity Structure on the Engagement of Low-Achieving Students. Teachers College Record Volume, 111(7), 1665-1692.
  • Nystrand, M. (2007, March 27). Keynote Address: Opening-and Sustaining-Dialogue: From Practice to Theory and Back. The International Association for the Improvement of Mother Tongue Education (IAIMTE). Exeter, UK March 27, 2007.
  • Nystrand, M. (2006, May). Research on the role of classroom discourse as it affects reading comprehension. Research in the Teaching of English, 40, 392-412.
  • Nystrand, M. (2009, September). En què consisteix la felin d'un mestre. La formació del professorat de llengues, 49, 82-110.
  • Nystrand, M., & Gamoran, A. (1997). The big picture: The language of learning in hundreds of eighth- and ninth-grade English lessons. Chapter 2, Opening Dialogue: Understanding the Dynamics of Language and Learning in the English Classroom. New York: Teachers College Press.
  • Nystrand, M., Gamoran, A., & Carbonaro, W. (2001). On the ecology of classroom instruction: The case of writing in high school English and social studies. In P. Tynjälä, L. Mason, & K. Londa (Eds.), Writing as a learning tool (pp. 57-81). Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  • Nystrand, M., Wu, L., Gamoran, A., Zeiser, S., & Long, D. (2003, March-April). Questions in time: Investigating the structure and dynamics of unfolding classroom discourse. Discourse Processes, 35, 135-196.Nystrand, M., & Gamoran, A. (1991). Instructional discourse, student engagement, and literature achievement. Research in the Teaching of English, 25, 261-290.

    CLASS 5.0, under development, will be available for multiple platforms.