Panel Paper: Improving Teaching Quality Through Professional Development: Two Rct's of My Teaching Partner

Saturday, November 10, 2012 : 9:10 AM
Hanover A (Radisson Plaza Lord Baltimore Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Christopher A. Hafen1, Joseph P. Allen1, Anne Gregory2, Amori Yee Mikami3, Bridget Hamre1 and Robert C. Pianta1, (1)University of Virginia, (2)Rutgers University, (3)University of British Columbia

This presentation will discuss findings from two randomized control trials of the My Teaching Partner-Secondary (MTP-S) program, which is a web-mediated approach focused on improving the quality of teacher-student interactions in the classroom. 

MTP-S is based upon a validated observational approach to assessing the quality of classroom interactions, the Classroom Assessment Scoring System-Secondary (CLASS-S).  The most unique feature of the intervention is that it employs a year-long personalized, iterative coaching process that allows the teacher and a consultant to focus intensively on review and analysis of observed teacher-student interactions.  This process includes the consultant selecting video clips from a teacher’s instruction, and writing prompts related to the clips. The teacher then watches the clips and provides responses.  This is followed by a 20-30 minute phone conference between a teacher and their consultant. 

The validated CLASS-S measure provides the structure for the intervention.  There are two components of this measure:  relational supports and instructional supports.  Relational supports are built through Positive Climate (respectful communications), Sensitive interactions (responsiveness to student needs), and Regard for Adolescent Perspectives (fostering autonomy in active roles).  Instructional supports are built through Instructional Learning Formats (varied use of modalities and strategies) and Analysis and Problem Solving (engaging students in higher order thinking).   

Both study 1 and study 2 are randomized controlled trials of the My Teaching Partner–Secondary professional development program.  In Study 1, there were 78 secondary school teachers and 2237 students across two years.  Teachers participated in the intervention in year 1 only.  The program produced significant gains in both student engagement and positive peer interactions in year 1.  More interestingly, the program produced substantial gains in measured student achievement (Commonwealth of Virginia Standards of Learning scores) in year 2, which were mediated by observationally-coded changes to teacher behavior and student engagement (CLASS-S) in the classroom.  In Study 2, there were 97 secondary school teachers and 1360 students.  For this study, only one year of data is available.  The program produced significant gains in CLASS-S dimensions, in some cases with larger effect sizes than in the first study. 

My Teaching Partner - Secondary is empirically supported and appears to be cost-effective.  In terms of total teacher time, the intervention required approximately 20 hours of in-service training, spread across 13 months.  The full cost for the teacher-consultants and video equipment was $3,700 per teacher over this period.  Given that effects in Study 1 on student test scores were found in the next-year classroom, which was not the target of the intervention, we assume that effects might generalize across a teacher’s entire course load (typically 5 or more classes of 20 to 25 students each), thus reducing the per student costs to under $40 per student for a nine percentile upward bump in academic performance.

Full Paper: