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.
Partnering with Teachstone and Learning Forward, AIR is leading an effort to scale, refine, and test a teacher professional development program: MyTeachingPartner-Secondary. Researchers at the University of Virginia created the program based on their work linking classroom environments to student engagement, and they have demonstrated the program’s effectiveness 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 improve 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. The project supports three cohorts of teachers, launching in 2018, 2019, and 2020, with each cohort larger than the previous. By the end of the project, approximately 150 teachers will have been through the program. Additionally, participating districts will have the experience and training to help expand the program in their schools.
Funding for the project comes from a U.S. Department of Education grant—one of six “midphase” Education Innovation Research (EIR) grants funded in 2017 to implement proven programs in new locations and continue testing their effectiveness.