Take a look at an innovative study of literacy coaches led by Tony Bryk, president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The study of 17 schools suggests that using literacy coaches can help increase students’ reading skills by as much as 32 percent over three years.
The first of what many scholars hope will be a new generation of studies that offer more context behind what works, the study finds that the higher the amount of coaching a teacher receives in a well-defined literacy collaborative program, the greater the reading gains. It also finds that the amount of coaching teachers get varies widely across schools and districts, and is influenced by many factors, including relationships among staff members and how teachers think of their own roles.
These conclusions are very much in sync with our observations in school districts across the country. It reinforces our opinion that money spent on this kind of support is well worth it. Of course, as with all interventions, the quality of the coaching will affect its impact. In this study, the coaching was done in the context of a model and included university based training for coaches before the program began (vs. just calling people coaches with minimal training and structure).
Has coaching had similar results in your district? Post a comment and let us know your experience.
See ERS’ Teaching Quality Brief for more information on our thinking on improving teaching.