Providing Teachers Access to Professional Learning Programs Through Research Projects

Many researchers and policymakers consider teachers the number one factor affecting student achievement. Yet teacher professional development programs that prove effective are rare. Efforts are needed to develop, refine, test and scale-up professional development programs. The American Institutes for Research (AIR) has been researching teacher professional development programs to help teachers with general and content-area teaching.

Districts that partner with AIR receive support to implement promising professional development programs. In exchange, the districts allow AIR to collect data to study program implementation and impact.

Professional Learning with Impact Program

Professional Learning with Impact (PLI) is a grant-funded teacher professional development program designed to maximize teacher and student growth and address student achievement gaps.

“This project [PLI] is of great significance. It combines the best of two models of professional learning, boosting professional learning with an authentic focus on student learning.”
— Charlotte Danielson

PLI combines a structured and supportive approach for professional learning communities (PLCs) with one-on-one, strengths-based coaching using Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching (FfT) Clusters, to enhance teacher’s instruction, student engagement and learning through video reflection and feedback.

Participants: 4th- or 5th-grade teachers in elementary schools

Basic Requirements: Districts need six or more elementary schools that are: eligible for Schoolwide Title 1 Programs; contain at least 3 teachers in a single upper elementary level (4, 5, or 6); allocate at least 3 hours per month for teacher PLC meetings.

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MyTeachingPartner-Secondary Coaching Program

One hundred percent of teachers surveyed said the program was “worth the time it took.” Teachers participating in MTP-S also indicated renewed enthusiasm for the profession as they reflected and challenged themselves to better activate and strengthen the learning environment for their students.

The MyTeachingPartner-Secondary (MTP-S) project offers individualized coaching for two years to secondary math and English teachers. MTP-S coaches partner with teachers to understand and improve teachers’ practices and student engagement. Prior studies showed the equivalent of a nine-percentile point gain in achievement for those students whose teachers participated in MTP-S.

Participants: English and math teachers in middle and high schools (grades 6-12)

Basic Requirements: Districts need at least 10 eligible teachers, in total, from across schools considered high need (e.g., Title 1 schools, schools where 50 percent or more of students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch).

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Effective Instructional Coaching At-Scale for Middle Schools Using Jim Knight’s Coaching with Impact

The Coaching with Impact (CWI) project provides individualized coaching for middle school English language arts teachers to help students meet proficiency goals in writing. The Instructional Coaching Group will support the use of the coaching model developed by its founder, Jim Knight. Local coaches will provide a series of structured one-on-one coaching cycles driven by teachers’ goals for students and detailed descriptions of proven instructional practices.

Participants: English language arts teachers in middle schools (grades 6-8)

Basic Requirements: For the implementation that begins in summer 2022, districts need to have at least six eligible middle schools. To be eligible, a school must have at least two ELA teachers per grade and a staff member whose role includes instructional coaching for all ELA teachers. In addition, each school must qualify for schoolwide Title I status.

Contact Dr. Marlene Darwin for more information and to sign up for the Coaching with Impact project.