Fidelity of implementation is a critical but often neglected component of any new system, practice, or intervention in educational research and practice. Fidelity is a multidimensional construct focused on providing evidence of adherence, quality, dosage, differentiation, and responsiveness following implementation. Unfortunately, fidelity has not always been prioritized, although evidence suggests that is changing, at least in published research. Further, although there are myriad methods for measuring fidelity, psychometric evaluations of fidelity tools have been limited, except in the SWPBIS literature. Calls for a science of fidelity have been made (Gresham, 2017) and are beginning to be answered. Overall, there appears to be more research focused exclusively on fidelity, including measurement approaches, psychometric evaluations, and relation to outcomes. As this research expands, we hope that the broad use and integration of fidelity in practice follows. We believe that the days of neglecting fidelity are behind us in education and see fidelity playing a central role in education moving forward. Through reliable and valid measurement of fidelity, scalable evidence-based practices can be developed and proliferated, positively impacting students’ academic and behavioral outcomes.
Citation: Gage, N., MacSuga-Gage, A., and Detrich, R. (2020). Fidelity of Implementation in Educational Research and Practice. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute. https://www.winginstitute.org/systems-program-fidelity
Toward Automated Feedback on Teacher Discourse to Enhance Teacher Learning. Research supports coaching as critical for effective teacher professional development. A key element of coaching is observing teachers in classrooms implementing newly trained skills. Unfortunately, one of the obstacles to providing coaching to teachers is the cost of delivering the service. Educators are on the lookout for any innovations that promise to reduce this cost of coaching while sustaining the impact of coaching. Research has found the use of video and remote viewing coaching to show much promise (Scheeler, Congdon, & Stansbery, 2010; Suhrheinrich, 2017). This study examines the use of an automated recording of high-quality audio using speech recognition and machine learning to develop teacher-generalizable computer-scored estimates of crucial features of teacher’s performance.
The study found that computerized models were moderately accurate compared to human coders and that speech recognition errors did not influence performance. The authors conclude that teacher discourse can be recorded and analyzed for timely feedback. The next step is to incorporate the automatic models into an interactive visualization tool that will provide teachers with objective feedback on student instruction quality.
Citation: Darling-Hammond, L., Hyler, M. E., & Gardner, M. (2017). Effective teacher professional development.
Effective teacher professional development. For the past 20 years, school systems have heavily relied on professional development as the primary means for improving student performance, as evidenced by the massive allocation of funds for in-service training. Few educators or policymakers challenge the importance of teacher training that ensures teachers have the knowledge and skills required to be effective in the classroom. Despite the overwhelming support for teacher professional development, research has shown that most teacher training is ineffective in changing how teachers teach and students perform. This paper analyzed 35 studies that found a link between professional development and positive teacher and student outcomes.
The authors identified the following features significant if professional development is to produce meaningful results;
They are content focused.
They incorporate active learning strategies.
They engage teachers in collaboration.
They use models and/or modeling.
They provide coaching and expert support.
They include time for feedback and reflection.
They are of sustained duration.
The authors conclude that professional development should incorporate the identified features and training needs to link to teachers’ experiences in preparation, induction, and teaching standards and evaluation.
Citation: Darling-Hammond, L., Hyler, M. E., & Gardner, M. (2017). Effective teacher professional development.
Teacher Inservice Professional Development. he American education system values in-service training to improve teacher performance, spending an average of $18,000 annually per teacher. Like many promising practices, it has failed to produce as promised. Schools invest extensively in teacher induction in the early years of a teacher, supplemented with in-service training throughout the teacher’s career. Unfortunately, this training is often delivered in unproductive ways, for example, workshop sessions that commonly rely on passive didactic techniques, such as lecturing or reading, shown to have minimal or no impact on the teacher’s use of the practices in the classroom. This is especially true when the outcome, using the practices in the classroom, is assessed. Coaching-based clinical training, with the teacher practicing skills on students in a classroom setting and receiving feedback from the coach, has been found to produce the best results. Sustained professional development with scope and sequence curriculum, accompanied by manuals for interventions in which the teacher is being trained, is superior to single events. Computer-assisted instruction as a companion to systematic training techniques identified above has been found to be a cost-effective adjunct staff development tool.
Assessing the Cost of Instructional Coaching. Each year school systems spend approximately $15 million per school year, $230 per student, and $3,390 per teacher, totaling 2.9% of the operating budget, to provide a variety of professional development opportunities from workshops to coaching to whole-school development (Cleaver, 2020). Research suggests coaching is one of the most effective methods for increasing the effectiveness of professional development.
Over the past twenty years, the popularity of school-based instructional coaching has grown. But one obstacle to the wide-spread use of coaching is the cost of delivering the service. This paper examines the resources needed for coaching and offers a framework for measuring these costs. The author finds coaching costs range from $3,260 to $5,220 per teacher. These are substantial expenses. Given limited education budgets, policymakers need to conduct cost/benefit analyses that compare traditional professional development methods such as workshops. This study lays the groundwork for cost-effectiveness studies by presenting a framework for measuring costs and reporting costs of a specific program.
Another valuable resource for determining a return on investment for education interventions is Stewart Yeh’s 2007 study, The cost-effectiveness of five policies for improving student achievement. Yeh offers a framework for utilizing a practice effect size and costs of the practice to determine what method is best suited given a school’s current budget. Incorporating cost-benefit analyses into schools’ decision-making process is essential if educators make the most informed decisions impacting student outcomes.
Citation: Knight, D. S. (2012). Assessing the cost of instructional coaching. Journal of Education Finance, 52-80.
Yeh, S. S. (2007). The cost-effectiveness of five policies for improving student achievement. American Journal of Evaluation, 28(4), 416-436.
Teacher coaching in a simulated environment. This paper looks at whether providing coaching between practice sessions in teacher education courses leads to the more rapid development of skills and changes in teachers’ beliefs about student behavior, using mixed-reality simulations as a practice space and standardized assessment platform. The authors randomly assigned 105 prospective teachers to different coaching conditions between simulation sessions integrated into a teacher preparation program.
The study attempts to answer two critical questions: (1) Does an increase in coaching supports (both dosage and type) lead to more significant improvements in candidates’ practice from one simulation to the next. (2). Will coaching supports also alter candidates’ perceptions of student behaviors and appropriate “next-steps” for addressing such behaviors, even though the coaching protocols do not directly target candidates’ beliefs and behavior plans for students. The study provides causal evidence about how to quickly improve essential teaching skills in the context of an education classroom management course, an important and understudied topic in general education teacher preparation literature. In addition to demonstrating that short coaching sessions can dramatically improve candidates’ redirection skills, the authors find significant coaching effects on candidates’ perceptions of student behavior and ideas about the next steps for addressing perceived behavioral issues.
In summary, coached candidates had substantial and considerable improvements in skills relative to those who only reflected on their teaching. This research indicates that repeated practice opportunities alone may not improve teaching skills as efficiently and effectively as coaching between sessions. Without outside support, self-reflection can have potentially harmful effects. Findings suggest that skills with which novices struggle can improve with coaching and do not have to be learned “on the job.”
Citation: Cohen, J., Wong, V., Krishnamachari, A., & Berlin, R. (2020). Teacher coaching in a simulated environment. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 42(2), 208-231.
2020 Teacher Prep Review: Clinical Practice & Classroom Management. This report is from the National Center for Teacher Quality (NCTQ), and organization that provides ongoing reviews of the effectiveness of the nation’s teacher preparation programs. This particular report examines two critical components of teacher preparation—clinical practice (also known as student teaching) and classroom management—and the degree to which current teacher preparation programs have adopted and implemented best practices for each.
It is generally accepted that new teachers benefit from high quality student teaching. The NCTQ report reviews specific evidence of just how beneficial quality clinical training can be, including research that: (1) identifies clinical practice as one of three “aspects of preparation that have the highest potential for effects on outcomes for students, and (2) provides evidence that first-year teachers can be as effective as typical third-year teachers if they spent their student teaching experience in the classrooms of highly effective teachers.
NCTQ has reviewed existing teacher preparation clinical programs in 2013, 2016, and 2020, assigning grades (A to F) based on their performance on three indicators (length, supervisory visits, and selection of the mentor teacher). Unfortunately only 9% earned an A or B, and 91% earned C’s or D’s. The data also showed that there had been no improvement over the seven-year time period between first and most recent reports.
The second critical component reviewed—classroom management—showed great progress but still lags in one of the most critical strategies for effective management. NCTQ identifies five critical components that should be taught in teacher preparation programs: 1) Establishing rules and routines that set expectations for behavior;, 2) Maximizing learning time by managing time, class materials and the physical setup of the classroom, and by promoting student engagement; 3) Reinforcing positive behavior by using speci c, meaningful praise and other forms of positive reinforcement; 4) Redirecting off-task behavior through unobtrusive means that do not interrupt instruction and that prevent and manage such behavior, and; 5) Addressing serious misbehavior with consistent, respectful and appropriate consequences. The good news is that there has been a 26% increase in the number of programs looking to research-based approaches to classroom management. The bad news is that one of the most effective and well documented classroom management strategies—praising good behavior—is the least likely to be taught.
Citation(s): Pomerance, L. & Walsh, K. (2020). 2020 Teacher Prep Review: Clinical Practice and Classroom Management. Washington, D.C.: National Council on Teacher Quality.
Corrective Feedback Overview. orrective feedback is a form of performance feedback used to improve student achievement. Teachers provide feedback to students to reinforce expectations and to correct student errors during lessons. Feedback is often noted as the single most powerful tool available for improving student performance, and more than seven meta-analyses conducted since 1980 support this claim. Classroom teachers use corrective feedback as a teaching technique every day. The feedback may be as simple as giving praise, returning assignments the next day, immediately correcting student misconceptions, or as a component of active student responding. Other effective strategies rely on peer review or self-assessment to increase feedback. For the best results, feedback must meet these four conditions: (1) It is objective, reliable, measureable, and specific; (2) it provides information about what was done well, what needs improvement, and how to improve; (3) it is delivered frequently and immediately following performance; and (4) it is about performance rather than personal characteristics.
Citation: Guinness, K., Detrich, R., Keyworth, R. & States, J. (2020). Overview of Corrective Feedback. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute. https://www.winginstitute.org/instructional-delivery-feedback
2017-18 Civil Rights Data Collection: The Use of Restraint and Seclusion on Children with Disabilities in K-12 Schools. The U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights released a detailed survey on the use of restraint and seclusion in K-12 schools to address the possible inappropriate use of thee procedures. The survey was in part a response to a previous GAO report that flagged the significant absence or reliable data collection on the use of these procedures (Nowicki, J. 2020). This survey also makes available detailed school district and school level data at ocrdata.ed.gov
The survey also provides the following summary of the use of physical restraint, seclusion and mechanical restraint. Under the CRDC, physical restraint is a personal restriction that immobilizes or reduces the ability of a student to move his or her torso, arms, legs, or head freely. Mechanical restraint is the use of any device or equipment to restrict a student’s freedom of movement. Seclusion is the involuntary confinement of a student alone in a room or area from which the student is physically prevented from leaving.
Students with disabilities make up 13% of the total student enrollment in U.S. schools. They account for 80% of students subjected to physical restraint, 41% to mechanical restraints, and 77% to seclusion. The following figure examines use of these procedures within the special needs population of students by ethnicity.
Forty-eight percent of students with disabilities are white. They account for 52% of the students subjected to physical restraint, 33% to mechanical restraints, and 60% to seclusion. Black students are 1.3 times more likely to experience physical restraints and 2.8 times more likely to experience mechanical restraints than white students.
Eighteen percent of students with disabilities are Black. They account for 26% of the students subjected to physical restraint, 34% to mechanical restraints, and 22% to seclusion.
Twenty-seven percent of students with disabilities are Hispanic. They account for 14% of the students subjected to physical restraint, 28% to mechanical restraints, and 9% to seclusion. It appears that Hispanic students experience these procedures at lower rates than Whit and Black students.This survey suggests somewhat widespread use of these procedures and possible inequity in their application. Much more analysis needs to be completed to answer these critical questions fully.
Citation(s): Nowicki, J. (2020). K-12 Education: Education Needs to Address Significant Quality Issues with Its Restraint and Seclusion Data. Report to Congressional Committees. GAO-20-345. US Government Accountability Office.
2017-18 Civil Rights Data Collection: The Use of Restraint and Seclusion on Children with Disabilities in K-12 Schools,U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, October 2020
Tier I Implementation Supports for Classroom Management: A Pilot Investigation Targeting Teachers’ Praise. Research strongly supports the efficacy of classroom management strategies for improving conduct and academic achievement. Despite the compelling evidence-base on the potential impact of these strategies, teachers struggle to implement classroom management practices effectively. This study examines the effects of a pilot evaluation of an implementation support package for promoting teachers’ delivery of praise for students’ behavior. This research suggests the support package intervention increases teachers’ behavior-specific praise, heightened praise-to-correction ratios, and increases in students’ on-task behavior.
Citation: Zakszeski, B., Thomas, L., & Erdy, L. (2020). Tier I implementation supports for classroom management: A pilot investigation targeting teachers’ praise. School Psychology, 35(2), 111.