Research Shows Pearson’s Learning Teams Strategy Improves School Performance and Student Achievement

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Research articles included in a new book: Team Up for 21st Century Teaching & Learning

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This synthesis of research and case studies can become a valuable tool for school leaders who are working to turn around low-performing schools

Professional teamwork—such as the strategies deployed by Pearson Learning Teams, a research-based, teacher collaboration model—is a key strategy in improving school performance and student achievement, according to a review of research and case studies compiled into a new book from the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF).

In Team Up for 21st Century Teaching and Learning, NCTAF analyzed an extensive body of research and case studies documenting how learning teams improve teaching effectiveness. Pearson Learning Teams is among the programs cited.

“This synthesis of research and case studies can become a valuable tool for school leaders who are working to turn around low-performing schools,” said Hanna Doerr, NCTAF Program Leader and editor of the book.

NCTAF notes six common themes among high performing schools that use professional learning communities, which have been shown to positively affect school culture, teacher retention, teaching effectiveness and student performance. These themes include: Shared Values and Goals; Collective Responsibility; Authentic Assessment; Self-Directed Reflection; Stable Settings; and Strong Leadership Support.

“We have been trying to improve schools the old-fashioned way—one teacher at a time,” said Tom Carroll, Ph.D., President of NCTAF. “It is time to recognize that stand-alone teaching in self-contained classrooms won’t prepare today’s students for 21st century college or careers—we need to build on the power of teamwork that is the key to success in every high performing organization in our country.”

For example, the new book cites George Washington Carver/Bruce Street School for the Deaf in Newark, where Principal Winston Jackson attributes the school’s positive teaching culture and improved student achievement, with more students meeting state and federal benchmarks, to the implementation of Pearson Learning Teams. And at Wilmington Middle School, part of the Los Angeles Unified School District, there has been a positive shift in the school’s culture, as well as more teachers relying on data to inform decision making about their teaching practices, according to Diana Zarro-Martinez, the school’s Problem Solving Data Coordinator.    

“Pearson Learning Teams is one of the only providers to offer an evidence-based teacher collaboration program published in scientific journals,” said Beth Wray, President of Pearson Learning Teams. “As documented by the research and case studies cited by NCTAF, our work in chronically underperforming schools shows that Pearson Learning Teams can drive change on a number of levels: student achievement, school culture, student expectations and site leadership.”

Pearson Learning Teams is 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 program 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 54 percent for Hispanic students—relative to a comparable group of schools that used other methods. The model has since been replicated in elementary, middle and high schools across the country.

According to a recent study in the Elementary School Journal, also included in the new NCTAF volume, huge gains in student achievement can be made when schools use teacher learning teams to work collaboratively and follow a structured protocol—exactly the strategy behind Pearson Learning Teams.

Nearly 4,000 teachers at 175 schools in 23 school districts across the US are using Pearson Learning Teams to improve instruction and student achievement for more than 176,000 students. Pearson Learning Teams works with some of the largest districts in the US, such as Los Angeles Unified School District, smaller urban districts including Pomona, California and Omaha, as well as suburban and rural districts in Ohio and South Carolina.

For more information about Team Up for 21st Century Teaching and Learning, visit

About Pearson
Pearson has global-reach and market leading businesses in education, business information, and consumer publishing (NYSE: PSO).

Media Contact: Susan Aspey, Susan.aspey(at)pearson(dot)com or (800) 745-8489

About Pearson’s Teacher Education and Development Group
Pearson’s Teacher Education and Development Group is part of Pearson (NYSE: PSO), the global leader in education, technology and services. The Teacher Education and Development Group supports the education and professional development of educators from preparation through practice, with a comprehensive array of research-based, personalized learning and development solutions that prepare teacher candidates, provide pathways to certification, build teacher capacity, strengthen instructional leadership and increase K-12 student achievement. For more information, visit

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