Teaching Matters Uses Positive Results from Independent Pilot Study of its Flagship Program, Teaching for Impact, to Chart Path Ahead

Mon, 03 Feb 2014:

For immediate release
Contact: Sharon Rubinstein, 212-870-3505, ext. 8, cell 703-901-7947, srubinstein@teachingmatters.org

Teaching Matters Uses Positive Results from Independent Pilot Study of its Flagship Program, Teaching for Impact, to Chart Path Ahead

(New York, NY) – February 3, 2014

Teaching Matters is learning as it goes along – and bringing the benefits to schools around the city. An independent evaluation of its Teaching for Impact (TFI) program pilot produced positive results newly documented in a report, and Teaching Matters has already implemented changes suggested by the study’s findings.

TFI rests upon the premise that content-specific teacher teams analyzing and acting upon student assessments, when supported by coaches or learning team leaders, will improve teacher effectiveness and student outcomes.

One key to success: closely adhering to the program, which provides a blueprint for team composition and operations. Where the model was most faithfully followed, results on student performance and teacher satisfaction were best.

“It’s notoriously difficult to make sweeping conclusions from small samples,” said Barbara Storandt, the study’s author and principal of ALTA Solutions Group. “Nevertheless, the evaluation points the way to practices that really matter, and that Teaching Matters is implementing.”

Two-thirds of teachers participating in year-end focus groups specifically connected the Teaching for Impact program to sudden and profound increases in student understanding, citing informal classroom assessments or in-class observations as evidence. Moreover, although all New York City schools had sharp declines on the 2013 Common Core-aligned New York State math and ELA tests, many students at schools with the highest functioning Teaching for Impact inquiry teams overtook the scores or increased an existing lead in the scores over students in the same grades at their peer schools, in 2013 as compared to 2012.

“These results are very promising in a pilot study,” said Storandt.

The Teaching for Impact program aims to increase teacher effectiveness and student performance with an approach that is both flexible and comprehensive. It gives schools and teachers a systematic support structure that includes: curriculum and assessment support, building teacher teams, and leadership development.

Teaching Matters works shoulder-to-shoulder in schools, most urban and high need, helping ease
the demanding transition to Common Core alignment. “We want teachers in tough circumstances
to get what they need, so they can deliver what students need,” said Lynette Guastaferro, Teaching
Matters’ Executive Director.

Here’s what teachers have said about Teaching for Impact:

“Using data to guide student instruction has been amazing. I love being able to look at the pre and
post assessments to help re-teach students topics that were not mastered. It seems to be working
because student scores increased from about 30% in solving equations with fractional coefficients
to about 60%” – 8th grade math teacher

“I like the way we operate: the procedures, the protocols; I feel that everyone has a chance to
speak and be heard. I feel that every idea is considered, and this is how we learn and grow as
teachers.” – 7th grade ELA teacher

“We’ve been refining our approach for nearly 20 years, and have made changes over the years to
accommodate what we’ve learned,” said Guastaferro. “We are delighted that this new research
validates how we’ve been proceeding, and points the way forward.”