This section describes a variety of instruments for assessing distinct aspects of the classroom climate, including instructor immediacy, instructor-student rapport, and the classroom environment. Instructors should employ evaluation processes to assess the classroom climate.1 Such assessments offer diagnostic utility in identifying specific facets of the learning environment that need improvement.2
Instructor Immediacy & Rapport
The Immediacy Scale & The Professor-Student Rapport Scale
The Immediacy Scalemeasures students’ perceptions of instructor friendliness, flexibility during lecture, and nonverbal immediacy, such as engaging in eye contact with students while lecturing.4
The Professor-Student Rapport Scale which consists of student-nominated items, has validated both The Immediacy Scale and itself by assessing relationships between students’ perceptions of instructor immediacy, instructor-student rapport, and learning outcomes.2,3 Research has demonstrated that both immediacy and rapport as measured by the scale independently predict students’ attitudes toward the instructor and course, student motivation, perceived learning, and self-reported grades.4
The Questionnaire on Teacher Interaction
The Questionnaire on Teacher Interaction assesses the nature and quality of the instructor-student relationship. The QTI focuses on instructor-student cooperation and the instructor’s path of influence. It assesses the instructor’s helpfulness and understanding; students’ perceptions of instructor dissatisfaction and admonishment; and student freedom, responsibility, and leadership.5
The Classroom Interactions Patterns Questionnaire.
Woods and Fraser developed a questionnaire to assess student perceptions of speciﬁc instructor behaviors.6 The Classroom Interaction Patterns Questionnaire (CIPQ) assesses teaching style with the scales of Praise and Encouragement, Open Questioning, Lecture and Direction, Individual Work, Discipline and Management, and Group Work.
The Classroom Atmosphere
Learning Environment Inventory & My Class Inventory.
The Learning Environment Inventory assesses social friction in the classroom environment and the degree to which cliques predominate in class relationships.7 It also assesses the formality and organization of the class environment, as well as the difficulty and speed of the course. Sample items include “All students know each other very well” and “The pace of the class is rushed.”
The My Class Inventory (MCI) is a simplified version of the LEI that was originally developed for student in primary school or junior high.7 However, you may consider modifying the MCI and employing because it has several advantages over the LEI. The MCI is only one-third as long as the original LEI, which minimizes fatigue effects. The MCI also has greater readability and responses are coded using a simple yes-no format. Because the questionnaire was originally written younger audience, you may need to reword some items, but the MCI’s simplicity, clarity, and brevity may make it feasible to administer in the final few minutes of a class meeting.
The Individualized Classroom Environment Questionnaire (ICEQ)
The ICEQ (ICEQ) assesses the degree to which a course offers a personalized, student-centered teaching approach. The ICEQ measures students’ participation in creating their own education, including open, independent inquiry-based investigation and differentiated instruction. Sample items range from “The instructor considers students’ feelings” to “Different students use different books, equipment and materials.”8
The College and University Classroom Environment Inventory (CUCEI)
The CUCEI was developed specifically for seminars or other small classes (<30 students).9 The CUCEI assesses the degree to which seminars specify task orientation but also foster independent, student-motivated projects. Sample items include “Activities in this class are clearly and carefully planned” and “Teaching approaches allow students to proceed at their own pace”.
Science Laboratory Environment Inventory
Because of the unique classroom environment of laboratory-based courses, Fraser, Giddings, & McRobbie (1995) developed an instrument specifically for lab-based science education.10 The Science Laboratory Environment Inventory (SLEI) assesses students’ perceptions of laboratory sections’ integration with lecture (“I use the theory from my regular science class sessions during laboratory activities”) and employment of the scientific method with a focus on veritably open inquiry (“We know the results that we are supposed to get before we commence a laboratory activity”).
Constructivist Learning Environment Survey (CLES)
The CLES assesses the degree to which the classroom climate is conducive to students connecting subject matter to their prior knowledge.11 Such a constructivist climate is important for helping students increase their awareness and content knowledge. Active negotiation and consensus-building between students are important aspects of this sense-making process.The CLES assesses students’ perception of the subject matter’s personal relevance, shared control, and student negotiation in the classroom (e.g., “Other students ask me to explain my ideas”).
In addition to the inventories described above, researchers have designed instruments for specific purposes and contexts. You may want to consider these, depending on your specific needs or concerns. For example, Maor and Fraser (1996) developed an inventory for evaluating the classroom environment in computer-assisted learning courses, and Teh and Fraser (1994) designed an instrument to assess gender equity, investigation, innovation and resource adequacy.12,13 Fisher and Waldrip (1997) also developed the Cultural Learning Environment Questionnaire (CLEQ) to assess culturally sensitivity in the classroom.14 The CLEQ assesses competition, equity, risk involvement, communication, and collaboration. For distance education, Jegede, Fraser, and Fisher designed the Distance and Open Learning Environment Scale (DOLES).15 The DOLES measures factors that include instructor support, involvement, and flexibility, as well as home environment, and information technology resources.
(1) Gillespie, M. (2005). Student–teacher connection: a place of possibility. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 52, 211–219.
(2) Ryan, R. G., Wilson, J. H., & Pugh, J. L. (2011). Psychometric characteristics of the professor–student rapport scale. Teaching of Psychology, 38(3), 135-141.
(3) Christophel, D. M. (1990). The relationships among teacher immediacy behaviors, student motivation, and learning. Communication Education, 39(4), 323-340.
(4) Wilson, J. H., Ryan, R. G., & Pugh, J. L. (2010). Professor-student rapport scale predicts student outcomes. Teaching of Psychology, 37(4), 246-251.
(5) Wubbels, T. & Levy, J. (Eds.). (1993). Do you know what you look like: interpersonal relationships in education. London: Falmer.
(6) Woods, J. & Fraser, B. J. (1995, April). Utilizing feedback data on students’ perceptions of teaching style and preferred learning style to enhance teaching effectiveness. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, San Francisco, CA.
(7) Fraser, B. J., Anderson, G. J., Walberg, H. J. (1982). Assessment of learning environments: Manual for Learning Environment Inventory (LEI) and My Class Inventory (MCI) (3rd vers.). Perth, Australia: Western Australian Institute of Technology.
(8) Fraser, B.J. (1990). Individualised Classroom Environment Questionnaire. Melbourne, Australia: Australian Council for Educational Research.
(9) Fraser, B. J., Treagust, D. F. & Dennis, N. C. (1986). Development of an instrument for assessing classroom psychosocial environment at universities and colleges. Studies in Higher Education, 11, 43–54.
(10) Fraser, B. J., Giddings, G. J. & McRobbie, C. J. (1995). Evolution and validation of a personal form of an instrument for assessing science laboratory classroom environments. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 32, 399–422.
(11) Maor, D. & Fraser, B. J. (1996). Use of classroom environment perceptions in evaluating inquiry-based computer assisted learning. International Journal of Science Education, 18, 401–421.
(12) Taylor, P. C., Fraser, B. J. & Fisher, D. L. (1997). Monitoring constructivist classroom learning environments. International Journal of Educational Research, 27, 293–302.
(13) Teh, G. & Fraser, B. J. (1994). An evaluation of computer-assisted learning in terms of achievement, attitudes and classroom environment. Evaluation and Research in Education, 8, 147–161.
(14) Fisher, D.L. & Waldrip, B.G. (1997). Assessing culturally sensitive factors in the learning environment of science classrooms. Research in Science Education, 27, 41–49.
(15) Jegede, O. J., Fraser, B. J. & Fisher, D. L. (1995). The development and validation of a distance and open learning environment scale. Educational Technology Research and Development, 43, 90–93.