The traditional one-shot teacher trainings aimed at telling teachers what they need to do to get better are not only frustrating to teachers, but are ineffective for improving classroom practices or student learning. Experts have advocated for effective professional learning to be job-embedded and intensively focused on the goal of meeting the learning needs of teachers and students. As the body of evidence around intense, ongoing, job-embedded professional learning grows, more school districts are placing instructional coaches in schools in hope of improving teachers' practices and student learning.
The purpose of this mixed methods study was to: (1) determine if student achievement in reading and math was impacted as a result of instructional coaching in the middle schools, (2) examine classroom implementation of research-based instructional strategies, and (3) discern teachers' perceptions regarding the effectiveness of the instructional coaching program.
This study examined 22 sixth and seventh grade language arts and math teachers in a mid-size district that hosts an instructional coaching program. The data analysis was multi-leveled with three key levels of data interpretation. The first level was a detailed analysis of each question separately: (1) achievement data was examined to determine impact on achievement; (2) classroom observations and interviews were utilized to examine teachers' application proposed strategies; and (3) a survey was administered to capture teachers' perceptions. The second level of analysis combined the qualitative and quantitative data. The final level of analysis triangulated all of the data sources to provide an in-depth understanding of instructional coaching.
Although this study did not find significant increases in achievement, Summerset District has maintained high levels of achievement in spite of a plethora of barriers and challenges in the last six years. Evidence from classroom observations indicated the teachers have implemented the district- and coach-supported instructional strategies at varying degrees of effectiveness. Overall perceptions and ratings of the instructional coaching program were overwhelmingly positive. Specific comments were mostly positive, even on the recommendation sections, thus revealing that instructional coaches are an invaluable and relied upon resource for middle school math and language arts teachers.
|Commitee:||Broody, Robert, Jones, DeWitt, Larimer, Christopher, Robinson, Victoria|
|School:||University of Northern Iowa|
|School Location:||United States -- Iowa|
|Source:||DAI-A 74/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Instructional Design, Educational leadership|
|Keywords:||Instructional coaching, Student achievement|
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