Categories for Quality Teachers

How Can Educators Standardize the Practice of Coaching?

September 10, 2018

Instructional Coaching Program and Practice Standards

The New Teacher Center has released guidelines and standards for the implementation of coaching as a powerful means of improving school, teacher, and ultimately student performance. The Instructional Coaching Program Standardsdefine the essential elements of a coaching program designed to accelerate teacher effectiveness. Districts can then use the Instructional Coaching Practice Standards as a framework to implement the components in a strategic, quality practice. The components consist of selection, roles, and responsibilities of coaches who will provide focused instructional assistance to teachers; preparation, development, and ongoing support for those coaches; a collaborative system of formative assessment of practice for teachers and coaches; and targeted, differentiatedprofessional learning opportunities for teachers. Formal standards are necessary for overcoming deficits inherent in previous in-service and teacher induction efforts that often left implementation of teacher training up to each personto define. This transformation is essential in assuring a consistency of practice for all the differing interventions currently bundled under the coaching label. These new coaching standards are a clarification and distillation of current practice elements, and are designed to make coaching more productive and cost effective.


New Teacher Center (2018). Instructional Coaching Program and Practice Standards. New Teacher Center.




What Is the Evidence Behind Learning Styles?

September 10, 2018

Does Tailoring Instruction to “Learning Styles” Help Students Learn?

In this 2018 analysis, Daniel Willingham revisits his 2005 review of the literature on learning styles. Thirteen years ago he concluded there is no evidence supporting theories that distinguish between visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning styles and improved achievement. To update his earlier study, Willingham examined research published since 2005. Learning style theorists have postulated that teaching to a specific learning style will help struggling students achieve success in school. Willingham begins by differentiating between learning style and ability. He defines learning style as the way a person completes tasks, and ability as how well the person executes the tasks. Learning style advocates believe that having a student focus on a preferred style will lead to improved performance. The recent research examined by Willingham supports his earlier conclusion: “There is not convincing evidence to support the idea that tailoring instruction according to a learning-styles theory improves student outcomes.” Matching instruction to learning style ultimately offers no credible benefit to students.Willingham did find new research confirming that people do show a preference for one style over another, but acting on the preference does not improve performance.

The implications from this research are that educators do not need to match learning style to student. Finally, it is worthwhile for teachers to teach students strategies that are effective and necessary for solving specific problems such as memorizing information, reading with comprehension, overcoming math anxiety, and avoiding distraction.

Citation: Willingham, D. T. (2018). Does tailoring instruction to “learning styles” help students learn? Ask the cognitive scientist. American Educator, 28–43.




What does the research tell us about teacher evaluation?

July 26, 2018

Teacher Evaluation Overview (Wing Institute Original Paper)

Teachers contribute to student achievement. As a practice, teacher evaluation has developed over time. Today, the focus of teacher evaluation is to determine the impact of teaching on student outcomes and for use as professional development. Research on teacher evaluation has produced mixed results. This overview provides information about teacher evaluation as it relates to collecting information about teacher practice and using it to improve student outcomes. The history of teacher evaluation and current research findings and implications are included. (Read More)

Citation: Cleaver, S., Detrich, R. & States, J. (2018). Overview of Teacher Evaluation. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute.





How effective is professional development for improving children’s educational outcomes?

July 24, 2018

Impact of In-Service Professional Development Programs for Early Childhood Teachers on Quality Ratings and Child Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis

News Summary: This meta-analysis examines the impact of professional development on program quality and educational outcomes for children in early childhood programs. The study attempts to answer three questions: (1) evaluate the impact of in-service programs for early childhood professional development, (2) identify program characteristics that moderate the effects of training on quality of service, and (3) identify the links between in-service training to childhood outcomes. To be included in this analysis a study must address staff development for early childhood instructors, be a quantitative experimental or quasi-experimental study, and report effect sizes or comparable data. The study reported a positive impact on the quality of services as evidenced by scores on Classroom Assessment Scoring System, Early Language and Literacy Classroom Observation, Environmental Rating Scales, and Individualized Classroom Assessment Scoring System. A medium effect size of 0.68 was found for improving process outcomes. A second meta-analysis of nine studies provided data on both quality ratings and child development and showed a small effect at child outcomes ES = 0.14. The study found great variances across professional development programs. The researchers established that intensity, duration, and training formats were critical factors in the determination of which programs offering the most effective services. This is not surprising as professional development encompasses a myriad of different practices; some effective and others that produce poor outcomes. This study found programs offering 45-60 hours of training had the greatest impact on process and child outcomes. Programs that offered coaching as an integral component of the training were almost three times as effective as programs that did not.

Citation:Egert, F., Fukkink, R. G., & Eckhardt, A. G. (2018). Impact of in-service professional development programs for early childhood teachers on quality ratings and child outcomes: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 88(3), 401-433.




Why We Cling to Ineffective Practices.

April 3, 2018

Why Do School Psychologists Cling to Ineffective Practices? Let’s Do What Works.

This article examines the impact of poor decision making in school psychology, with a focus on determining eligibility for special education. Effective decision making depends upon the selection and correct use of measures that yield reliable scores and valid conclusions, but traditional psychometric adequacy often comes up short. The author suggests specific ways in which school psychologists might overcome barriers to using effective assessment and intervention practices in schools in order to produce better results.

Citation: VanDerHeyden, A. M. (2018, March). Why Do School Psychologists Cling to Ineffective Practices? Let’s Do What Works. In School Psychology Forum, Research in Practice(Vol. 12, No. 1, pp. 44-52). National Association of School Psychologists.




The Search Continues for Improving Educator Effectiveness

March 22, 2018

Promoting Educator Effectiveness: The Effects of Two Key Strategies

The National Center for Education Evaluation, a division of the Institute of Education Sciences has released a new research brief that evaluated two strategies for improving educator effectiveness as measured by improvements in student outcomes.  The two strategies evaluated were performance feedback to educators about several dimensions of their performance for a period of two years and a pay-for-performance system that was in place for four years.  In the performance feedback project teachers were given feedback four times per year on their classroom practices and principals received feedback two times per year.  The impact on student outcomes were small.  After the first year, there was a statistically significant difference between students in math but not in reading in the feedback schools compared to the schools that served as the control group as measured by end of year scores.  At the end of the second year there were no statistically significant effects for either reading or math.  The net gain in math achievement for the students in the feedback schools was about 4 weeks compared to the control group.

The pay-for-performance study teachers were eligible for performance bonuses based on their ratings across multiple dimensions of their performance.  The students in the pay-for-performance schools outperformed the students in the control group schools in both math and reading.  Statistically significant scores were obtained in reading beginning the first year and each subsequent year through the third year.  Students math scores in the pay-for-performance schools achieved statistically significant scores only at the end of the third year.  There was no additional benefit in reading or math for pay-for-performance in the fourth year.  The overall benefit of the gains by the students in the pay-for-performance schools was estimated to be 3-4 weeks.  Again, this is a relatively small impact. It was noted that the quality of implementation may have reduced the impact of the two projects.  Across both studies, there were discrepancies between how the programs were intended to be implemented and how they were actually implemented.   Further limitations of the studies are that the performance feedback for teachers was only four times per year.  This is generally considered to be far too infrequent to have meaningful impact.  In the pay-for-performance study, 40% of the teachers reported that they were not aware they were eligible for bonuses, limiting the motivational properties of the bonus system.  Given these results it is clear that we must continue searching for effective approaches to improving educator performance and ways to assure high quality implementation.

Citation: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences (March 2018).  Promoting Educator Effectiveness: The Effects of Two Key Strategies.




IES Reviews Two Teacher Preparation Programs

February 28, 2018

WWC Examines the Evidence on Two Teacher Training Programs

News Summary: If teachers are to have a significant impact on student learning it is necessary for them to be well trained and prepared for the role of teacher.  This report examined the effectiveness of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) and My TeachingPartner Pre-K.  The NBPTS is a professional certification program for teachers that have taught at least three years and can meet the NBPTS standards.  My TeachingPartner Pre-K incorporates multiple media and coaching to prepare early education teachers.  The results of the What Works Clearinghouse review of NBPTS is that it had mixed effects in mathematics in grades 3-8 and no discernable effect on English language arts achievement.  There were no studies that met WWC standards for review so no judgment can be made about its effectiveness.  The results of this review highlight the necessity of evaluating the effectiveness of teacher training programs.  The stakes are very high for the students and families being served by teachers and nationally very large amount of money is spent on training teachers.  It would be nice to know which approaches to teacher professional development are effective and which have no beneficial effect.

Citation: What Works Clearinghouse, Institute for Education Science (2018).  National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification Intervention Report. Retrieved from




What Impact Does Student Teaching Placement Have on a Teacher’s Future Effectiveness?

November 15, 2017

Does the Match Matter? Exploring Whether Student Teaching Experiences Affect Teacher Effectiveness

This descriptive study examines the relationship between student teaching experiences and a teacher’s future effectiveness on the job. The primary finding is that teachers are more effective when the student demographics of their current schools are similar to the student demographics of the schools in which they did their student teaching. This study suggests that further experimental research be conducted to determine if the data hold up. If they do, the implication is that, in recruiting new teachers, school principals would be well served by choosing candidates whose student teaching experiences were in schools whose demographics match those of their own schools. Teacher preparation programs can also assist by assessing candidates’ preferences for where they plan on working and match student teaching placements to schools with similar demographics where new teachers are likely to be employed.

Citation: Goldhaber, D., Krieg, J. M., & Theobald, R. (2017). Does the match matter? Exploring whether student teaching experiences affect teacher effectiveness. American Educational Research Journal, 54(2), 325–359.




How Important Is Teacher Qualification in Early Childhood Learning?

August 3, 2017

The Relationship Between Teacher Qualification and the Quality of the Early Childhood Education and Care Environment

Research suggests that inadequate or poor-quality early education and care can lead to increased negative social, emotional, educational, health, economic, and conduct outcomes for children. This systematic review published by the Campbell Collaboration examines the evidence on the relationship between childcare teacher qualification and the quality of the care children receive. The study reveals that the higher the qualification, the higher the quality of the services delivered and, most important, the more positive the outcomes.

Citation: Manning, M., Garvis, S., Fleming, C., & Wong, G. T. W. (2017). The relationship between teacher qualification and the quality of the early childhood education and care environment. Campbell Systematic Reviews, 1. Oslo, Norway: Campbell Collaboration.




What We Know About Supporting New Teachers

June 14, 2017

Creating Supportive School Cultures for Beginning Teachers: Mitigating the Cultural Contextual Factors

This systematic literature review examines factors that affect new teachers as they become employed. It suggests that new teachers experience significant stress as they transition from teacher preparation programs to everyday teaching. The pressures experienced by novice instructors are evidenced by high rates of turnover during the first 5 years of teaching. This initial period entails a steep learning curve as new teachers try to match and adjust what they learned in pre-service training with the unique cultural practices of their new placements. To mitigate the challenges new teachers face, schools have implemented an array of practices subsumed under the heading “teacher induction.” Unfortunately, the literature review finds that the lack of standardization of practices including mentoring to coaching has reduced the overall impact of teacher induction and the ability of schools to effectively align the education philosophy and cultural values of new teachers with the strategies, procedures, needs, and resources of the schools where the new teachers are beginning their careers.

Citation: Kutsyuruba, B, Walker, K. D., and Gooden, L., (2017). Creating supportive school cultures for beginning teachers: Mitigating the cultural contextual factors. International Journal of Educational Organization and Leadership, 24(2), 1–18.