Originally published July 5, 2022
We know that one of the most important factors in children and adolescents' success in school is the quality of their teachers—and specifically the effectiveness of the daily interactions that support students' social and academic learning. Today more than ever, teachers need time to learn and reflect on their own professional practice.
But too often professional learning experiences are ‘sit and get’ presentations and disconnected from teachers' daily practice. And many research-based professional learning programs have failed to demonstrate impact at a large scale because they are often highly resource intensive and do not fit well into schools' professional learning plans.
At Teachstone, we are driven to help educators get the support they need to provide their students with meaningful and impactful interactions that enhance learning and development. Our evidence-based improvement programs have been used by thousands of educators across the globe. But until recently most research on our gold-standard 1:1 coaching model, MyTeachingPartner (MTP), was conducted by researchers with connections to CLASS® and Teachstone.
MTP enhances student learning—even after just 5 cycles of coaching.
A new study conducted by Mathematica, with funding from the Department of Education, provides important evidence that MTP enhances student learning—even after just 5 cycles of coaching.
What Does Evidence-Based Mean?
MTP is one of only a few coaching programs that has evidence to support its effectiveness. MTP meets the evidences standards for both the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) and Every Student Success Act (ESSA). This means that not only are the parts and components of MTP based on practices that have demonstrated an impact on student learning and teacher practices, but that the entire program has been found to be effective when implemented with fidelity. Rigorous studies of MTP—in pre-K, Upper Elementary, and Secondary—have demonstrated significant and meaningful impacts on classroom interactions, students’ development including academic achievement, and social and emotional learning.
About MTP Coaching
Before we share more about these findings, it’s important to understand how MTP is different from other coaching models. MTP supports instructional leaders who partner with teachers in ongoing, collaborative relationships as they examine, through video footage, their day-to-day interactions with children. Research demonstrates that teachers participating in 1-on-1 video coaching engage in more effective interactions with students, which in turn increases student learning and development.
Key Findings about MTP
In the most recent study, released by the U.S. Department of Education in June 2022, MTP had positive impacts on students’ academic outcomes, especially for novice teachers and teachers who scored in the bottom third of classroom interactions. The project worked collaboratively with almost 100 schools and 353 4th- and 5th-grade teachers to evaluate the effectiveness of MTP. In some schools, teachers received eight cycles of MTP, while another group of schools received five coaching cycles, and a final group of schools served as the comparison and did not receive MTP. The study team gathered student achievement, CLASS scores, and fidelity of implementation data.
Key findings reported include:
- Student achievement improved when teachers received five cycles of MTP coaching support. For English language arts, the increase was three percentile points on state assessments. Slight increases were also found for students in Math; however, they were not statistically significant.
- The increase in student achievement was even greater for novice teachers in their first five years of teaching, as well as teachers with weaker classroom interactions. This finding applied to both English language arts gains (5-7 percentile point increase) and math (4-6 percentile point gain).
- MTP was a cost-effective approach towards improving student learning. The average cost for five cycles ($228 per student) was more cost-effective than other strategies such as reducing class sizes and offering increased pay and/or incentives to high-performing teachers.
Unlike other studies of MTP, impacts were not detected on teachers’ classroom practices nor for receiving eight cycles of MTP. The reason for these inconsistent findings was hypothesized to be related to the pace needed to participate in eight cycles which left little time for teachers to implement new practices in their classrooms. It is also possible the sampling of classroom practice was not robust enough to detect changes in practice. Additionally, teachers receiving MTP (both five and eight cycles) reported changing their classroom interactions because of feedback from their coaches, but no shift was detected on the CLASS at the end of the school year. Given that some of these findings contradict prior research, additional research is needed to best understand the mechanism for impact on student outcomes.
The findings of the study reinforce the effectiveness of MTP in terms of student outcomes, especially with novice and those with weaker classroom practices at the start of the study. Evidence provided by other MTP studies in PreK and the secondary context demonstrate the impact of the coaching program on instructional practices, as well as students’ social and emotional development.
To learn more about how to provide MTP coaching or other improvement programs to educators you work with, contact your CLASS Success Team today.