Web-based coaching programs are a cost effective and scalable option for schools looking to improve instructional quality. Brown University’s Matthew Kraft and Harvard University’s Heather Hill evaluated the efficacy of one such program, Mathematical Quality Instruction (MQI) Coaching, for teachers implementing Common Core-aligned math instruction. The randomized field trial evaluated MQI Coaching’s effect on teachers’ instruction and student achievement over a two-year period. The bi-weekly MQI Coaching cycle included teacher selection of MQI practice development, filming of lessons, meeting with an instructional coach to review lesson clips and stock clips from the MQI library, and identification of a plan for improvement.
Two public school districts in a Midwestern state partnered with the authors to evaluate the efficacy of the MQI Coaching model. One was a large, urban district serving 83% low-income families and the other was a smaller suburban district serving 37% low-income families. Participating upper elementary and middle school math teachers were randomly assigned to receive MQI Coaching treatment (n=72) or a control “business as usual” condition (n=70).
The authors reported sizable and sustained effects of MQI on teachers’ retention as well as instruction:
- MQI coaching increased the likelihood that teachers taught math in the follow-up year by 10.6 percentage points.
- Additionally, student surveys showed MQI Coaching improved student perceptions of teachers’ instructional practice.
- However, the authors found no evidence of MQI Coaching’s impacts on student achievement.
The authors stressed the importance of the instructional improvements due to MQI, as well as the possibility that students’ abilities were strengthened in ways not captured by standardized testing. Given that the efficacy and development of math coaching models are far behind that of literacy coaching, this work is an important step in understanding the refinement and research necessary of new math coaching models.
Source (Open Access): Kraft, M. A., & Hill, H. C. (2020). Developing ambitious mathematics instruction through web-based coaching: A randomized field trial. American Educational Research Journal, 57(6), 2378-2414.