Author: Bracket M.A.

Emotional Bias in Classroom Observations: Within-Rater Positive Emotion Predicts Favorable Assessments of Classroom Quality

Center Authors: Floman, J. L., Hagelskamp, C., Brackett, M. A., Rivers, S. E.


This paper examines how trends in rater scoring tendencies over time may undermine the reliability of classroom observations. It proposes that state emotion may constitute a source of psychological bias in classroom observations ratings. In two studies, employing independent sets of raters and approximately 5,000 videotaped fifth- and sixth-grade classroom interactions, within-rater state positive emotion was associated with favorable ratings of classroom quality using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS). Despite various protections enacted to secure reliable and valid observations in the face of rater trends—including professional training, certification testing, and routine calibration meetings—emotional bias still emerged. Study limitations and implications for classroom observation methodology are considered.


Floman, J. L., Hagelskamp, C., Brackett, M. A., & Rivers, S. E. (2016). Emotional bias in classroom observations: Within-rater positive emotion predicts favorable assessments of classroom quality. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment. Advance online publication. DOI:10.1177/0734282916629595