Pearson's Learning Teams Shows Teachers the Path to Improved Student Achievement, Research Study Finds

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Elementary School Journal Study Identifies Five Keys to Improving Classroom Instruction and Student Achievement.

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With teaching quality considered one of the most important factors in student achievement, many districts across the nation are investing in professional development programs to ensure success. Indeed, President Obama's education agenda includes initiatives to improve teacher quality and increase student achievement by providing teachers with more training and support.

Now, a new research study documents how gains in student achievement can be made when teacher learning teams work collaboratively and follow a structured protocol--exactly the strategy behind Pearson's Learning Teams, an evidence-based, collaborative model that brings together teachers to learn from each other, refine their skills to improve student performance and self-assess their progress.

The study, Moving the Learning of Teaching Closer to Practice: Teacher Education Implications of School-Based Inquiry Teams, outlines five key steps to improving classroom instruction and student achievement. The study is available in a special issue of The Elementary School Journal, a publication of peer-reviewed articles dealing with both education theory and research and their implications for teaching practice. The report's authors are Drs. Ronald Gallimore, Bradley A. Ermeling, William M. Saunders and Claude Goldenberg.

"This study represents a milestone for Learning Teams, because The Elementary School Journal only publishes work that has been subjected to blind, peer, scientific review--the purest type of research," said Beth Wray, President of Pearson Learning Teams. "We believe these findings will be incredibly compelling for school districts, especially underperforming districts.

"No one else in the industry offers districts a scientifically-based teacher professional development program based on decades of research. We continue to invest in further research to improve Learning Teams and build upon what we know about how teaching impacts student achievement."

Pearson Learning Teams is based on a five-year comparison study that included 15 Title I schools serving 14,000 mostly low-achieving, limited English proficient students. Achievement in the schools using teacher learning teams rose by 41 percent overall--and a whopping 58 percent for Hispanic students--relative to a comparable group of schools that used other methods.

The new study outlines these key factors as necessary to creating successful teacher learning teams at the high school and elementary school levels, including:

  •     Stable settings dedicated to improving instruction and learning;
  •     Job-alike teams with teachers who teach the same elementary grade or high school subject;
  •     Published protocols that guide teachers' improvement efforts, but do not dictate exact methods;
  •     Trained peer facilitators who guide their colleagues over time; and
  •     Perseverance until students make progress on key student performance indicators.

"Collaboration is key to the success of teacher learning teams," said lead author Ronald Gallimore, Professor Emeritus at UCLA. "Bringing teachers together for just a few hours each month can yield huge gains in student achievement, especially for Hispanic students. But time alone is not enough. Stable settings, job-alike teams, peer facilitators, and protocols build teachers' confidence that their hard work pays off for their students. When that happens, student scores rise, instruction keeps improving, and the school culture changes."

Almost 4,000 teachers at 175 schools across the US are using Pearson Learning Teams to improve instruction and student achievement. For example, in a spontaneous expression of support, more than 40 teachers in one large public school district wrote to their superintendent, saying that Pearson Learning Teams is the best professional development they've ever had and asked that the programs be continued despite a severe budget crisis.

Pearson Learning Teams is part of Pearson's Teacher Education and Development Group, the only group in the education industry that is completely dedicated to supporting the professional development of teachers from preparation through practice, with content and services that represent the research and knowledge of America's leading education researchers.

Moving the Learning of Teaching Closer to Practice is available free at

For more information about Pearson Learning Teams, including the complete research study as well as other efficacy studies, visit

About Pearson Learning Teams
Pearson Learning Teams provides direct assistance to schools seeking to improve teaching, learning and achievement. Based on 15 years of research conducted in public schools, Learning Teams helps establish an infrastructure of leadership and ongoing professional development at each school site that engages teachers to refine their teaching and produce better student results. Learning Teams are currently helping improve teaching and learning in 175 schools across the US. Pearson Learning Teams is part of Pearson, the international education and media company. To view a video and learn more about Learning Teams, visit

About Pearson's Teacher Education & Development Group
Pearson's Teacher Education & Development Group is uniquely positioned to improve teaching effectiveness with content and services that shape teachers from their earliest undergraduate experiences up to and throughout their teaching careers. Our respected imprints and programs, including Allyn & Bacon/Merrill and MyEducationLab, provide today's students who will be tomorrow's teachers with powerful insight and applications into how real-world classrooms work. Practicing teachers benefit from research-based professional development, including Pearson Learning Teams, which brings together communities of teachers to learn from each other and refine skills; and the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP), a groundbreaking approach to teaching English language learners in a way that makes the concepts easier to understand, while at the same time strengthening a student's English skills.

Contact: Susan Aspey, susan.aspey(at)pearson(dot)com or 347-421-2473


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