Many researchers and policymakers consider teacher quality to correlate directly with student outcomes. Yet effective approaches to improving teacher quality are hard to find—particularly teacher professional development programs.
Student engagement is difficult to maintain as students become adolescents. Partnering with Teachstone and Learning Forward, AIR is leading a grant-funded effort to scale, refine, and test a teacher professional development program: MyTeachingPartner-Secondary (MTP-S). MTP-S is designed to help middle and high school teachers maximize student engagement in the classroom. It shows educators features of their teaching that foster adolescents’ engagement in class, focusing on the interactions that occur in the classroom. These include teacher-student interactions and student-student interactions.
What is MyTeachingPartner-Secondary?
Researchers at the University of Virginia created the MTP-S one-on-one instructional coaching program based on their work linking classroom environments to student engagement. They have demonstrated the program’s effectiveness in increasing student engagement, as well as student achievement and the quality of interactions in the classroom, in randomized controlled trials published in 2011 and 2015.
Teachers in the program receive 18 hours of coaching each year for two years through standardized coaching cycles. The teacher and a coach discuss video clips of the teacher’s classroom and identify aspects of teaching and classroom interactions that would lead to a higher level of student engagement. Through continuous improvement cycles, AIR and Teachstone will refine the approach to scaling the program and determine whether the approach produces positive results. By the end of the project, approximately 150 teachers will have been through the program’s three cohorts. Additionally, participating districts will have the experience and training to help expand the program in their schools.
What Will Districts and Teachers Receive If They Participate?
The grant supports middle and high school teachers to participate in supplemental coaching that helps them boost student engagement in the classroom. Study participants will receive practical, brief coaching cycles aligned with the school and district calendars that don’t interfere with evaluation or professional development.
- You can volunteer if you teach at least one course of reading/English language arts (ELA) or mathematics in which students take an end of course exam or the state assessment in the spring. New teachers who will be in induction programs should not volunteer.
- Coaches receive extensive training followed by ongoing support, all provided for free through grant partner Teachstone.
- The program begins with a half-day orientation in October 2019. Then you participate in 10 coaching cycles from October to March. Each cycle follows the same five steps and takes about two weeks, but you control when it starts and how quickly you finish it.
Who Can Join the Study?
To join the study, a district agrees to:
- Identify at least four math or four ELA teachers who agree partner with us for the 2019–20 and 2020-21 school year;
- Enter into a data-sharing agreement with AIR to provide data for the study; and
- Allow AIR to collect data for the study (a teacher survey, a brief student survey, and classroom observations). Researchers will work closely with teachers to schedule data collection activities at a mutually convenient time.
For More Information
To learn more about the study, or sign up to participate, please contact SecondaryCoachingProject@air.org. This project is funded by the U. S. Department of Education.