Research Instruments

Research instruments developed by the National Institute for Early Education Research are available for license here. 

To license one of the instruments described below, please complete and return the NIEER Instruments Request Form as well as the licensing form for the specific instrument:

To renew an existing license, see the License Renewal Form here.

Classroom Assessment of Supports for Emergent Bilingual Acquisition (CASEBA)

The CASEBA (Freedson, Figueras & Frede, 2009) measures the quality of language and literacy supports offered by the teachers to the children with a focus on Dual Language Learners (DLLs).  The CASEBA consists of 26 research-based items which cluster around six broad aspects of the early childhood curriculum: (1) gathering background information, (2) cultural inclusion, (3) curriculum content, (4) supports for home language and English acquisition, (5) social-emotional supports and classroom management, and (6) assessment. Though the CASEBA has not yet been publicly disseminated, a validity study of the measure was conducted in 100 classrooms in New Jersey, as well as in a staffing study of dual language learners in an urban district in New Jersey. Findings from the validity study are presented in Dual Language Learners in the Early Childhood Classroom (Freedson, Figueras-Daniel, Frede, Jung & Sideris, 2011). The unpublished instrument has garnered attention from early childhood dual language researchers across the country who are seeking observational tools to assess the quality of teacher input and interactions for both research and professional development in heavily dual-language classrooms. Most recently, the tool was highlighted as a valuable gauge of the extent to which teacher practices and classroom quality specifically address the needs of DLL children (Castro, Espinosa & Paez, 2011).
Freedson, M., Figueras-Daniel, A., Frede, E., Jung, K & Sideris, J. (2011).  The Classroom Assessment of Supports for Emergent Bilingual Acquisition (CASEBA): Psychometric Properties and Initial Findings from New Jersey’s Abbott Preschool Program. In C. Howes & R. Pianta (Eds.), Investigating the Classroom Experiences of Young Dual Language Learners (Volume 3 of NCRECE series), Brookes, Baltimore, MD.
Self-Evaluation of Supports for Emergent Bilingual Acquisition (SESEBA)
The SESEBA was developed to serve as an in-practice version of the CASEBA for use by teachers and coaches for the purpose of professional development. The underlying premise of both the CASEBA and SESEBA is that use of high quality and meaningful interactions in the home language along with intentional and well planned strategies for English language learning are the best approach to teaching preschool aged dual language learners (DLLs). The SESEBA can help programs seeking to support teacher practice around areas of language and literacy development when the goal of the program is to maintain and build upon the home language while developing English for DLLs. The use of SESEBA aligns with consensus for general best practices in PD calling for intense, sustained and classroom-based approaches (Tout, Zaslow, and Berry; 2006; Loeb, Rouse, & Shorris, 2007; Ryan, Hornbeck, & Frede, 2004; Klein & Gomby, 2008) as it presents the opportunity for teachers and coaches to self-reflect, plan, implement and repeat.
The SESEBA carefully guides coaches and teachers through a self-reflective exercise based on the cognitive coaching cycle (Costa & Garmston, 2002). SESEBA PD offers specific aims relative to DLLs including:  1) to reduce teachers’ own discomfort with and increase their knowledge of emergent bilingual acquisition, 2) to help teachers understand the need for dual language instruction in preschool, 3) to improve their teaching practices, and 4) to produce decision-makers capable of implementing effective instruction after the PD is over, leading to enduring change. The SESEBA instrument consists of the same research-based items as does CASEBA which cluster around the following features of support: 1) gathering background information, 2) cultural inclusion, 3) curriculum content, 4) supports for home language and English acquisition, 5) social-emotional supports and classroom management, and 6) assessment. In the Supports for Home and English Language Development sections, documentation for supports and practices are to be recorded and reflected upon in both English and the home language. This opportunity allows for teachers to reflect not only on their language and literacy practices in English but also on the complexity and intentionality of their development of the home language.
Figueras-Daniel, A., Frede, & Freedson, E.  (2014). The Self-Evaluation of Classroom Supports for Emergent Bilingual Acquisition.  Used with permission from The National Institute for Early Education Research (  Not to be copied or distributed by individuals other than those with permission from NIEER.   
Preschool Rating Instrument for Science and Mathematics (PRISM)
The PRISM (PRISM; Stevenson-Garcia, Brenneman, Frede, & Weber, 2009) is a classroom observation instrument that objectively measures the presence of classroom materials and teaching interactions that support mathematics and science learning.  The PRISM consists of 16 research-based items:

  • Materials for counting, comparing, estimating, and recognizing number symbols
  • Materials for measuring and comparing amount: Volume, weight, length, height, distance, time, and area
  • Materials for classifying and seriating
  • Materials for geometry and spatial positions/relationships
  • Materials for biological and non-biological science explorations
  • Materials to support reading about and representing science
  • Counting for a purpose


  • Identifying and writing numerals and numerical symbols
  • Numerical operations
  • Identifying and using geometric shapes
  • Spatial positions/relationships
  • Measuring and comparing amounts
  • Classification and seriation
  • Science explorations, experiments, and discussions
  • Observing and predicting
  • Recording science information

The instrument has undergone, and continues to undergo, an iterative development process.  Initial versions of the tool were piloted in early childhood classrooms serving under-resourced communities in New Jersey and New York.  The current version of the instrument was used to study a total of 199 preschool classrooms in New Mexico, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Kentucky.  Further information about the PRISM can be found in the sources cited below.  Despite being unpublished, the PRISM is sought after by researchers and educators in the U.S. and internationally because of its potential to contribute to early childhood science and math research and professional development efforts.
Brenneman, K.  (2011).  Assessment for preschool science learning and learning environments. Early Childhood Research and Practice, 13(1).
Brenneman, K., Boller, K., Atkins-Burnett, S., Stipek, D., Forry, N., Ertle, B., French, L., Ginsburg, H., Frede, E., & Schultz, T.  (2011).  Measuring the quality of early childhood math and science curricula and teaching. In M. Zaslow, I. Martinez-Beck, K. Tout, & T. Halle (Eds.), Measuring quality in early childhood settings.  Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing.
Stevenson-Garcia, J., Brenneman, K., Frede, E., & Weber, M. (2009). Preschool Rating Instrument for Science and Mathematics (PRISM). New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Education Research. 
Teacher Survey of Early Education Quality
The TSEEQ (Hallam, Rous, Riley-Ayers, & Epstein, 2011) is a self-report survey for early childhood teachers regarding their classroom practices and quality.  The survey is completed independently and can be conducted either on paper or online.  Teachers are asked to reflect on several aspects of the curriculum and classroom practices.  These areas include:  literacy, math, science, physical education and art curriculum, curriculum in general, instruction, assessment, physical environment, interaction and emotional climate, leadership and supervision, and family involvement.  There are approximately 100 questions on the survey presented mostly with a 5-point Likert Scale response or a yes/no response.  The complete survey is expected to take approximately 30 minutes per teacher. In a preliminary test of reliability, 490 surveys were analyzed and showed moderate to high levels of internal consistency, with low inter-item correlations (expected) and Cronbach alphas all above .7.
Hallam, R, Rous, B. Riley-Ayers, S & Epstein, D. (2011).  Teacher survey of early education quality.  New Brunswick, NJ: NIEER.