Learning Sciences International Shares Data from Successful Research Pilot With Pinellas County Schools

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Learning Sciences International presents encouraging data from a successful 2013–2014 research pilot conducted in partnership with Pinellas County Schools.

Pinellas County Public Schools 2013–2014 multiple measures pilot results

Pinellas County Public Schools 2013–2014 multiple measures pilot results

This short-duration approach stands in stark contrast to evaluation measures that score teacher practice at the end of the school year—when it’s too late for them to make adjustments.

During the 2013–2014 school year, Pinellas County Schools and Learning Sciences International partnered on an innovative research project to revitalize the district’s evaluation system. The primary goal was to improve teacher practice within a single year by helping teachers strengthen their practice and enabling them to adjust instructional strategies while students were still in the classroom.

Learning Sciences provided training on the Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model, along with leadership coaching. The professional development, coupled with the formative metrics, helped the district identify teachers’ strengths and areas for growth and provided targeted support, as well as a foundation in research-based classroom strategies, to improve teacher practice. As a result, the treatment schools underwent a structural change in the way they evaluate teachers, transforming the underlying teacher effectiveness culture to be fairer and more formative in nature.

Pilot data included 1,415 observations of 291 teachers, most of whom received a total of five observations. Other multiple metrics in the pilot included teacher self-assessment, principal observation scores, student perception surveys, and a short duration value-added measure (VAM) based at the unit level.

The Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model includes a performance scale to associate teachers with five levels of proficiency: not using, beginning, developing, applying, and innovating. Throughout the pilot, teachers increasingly scored at the innovating level, while their percentage of developing scores decreased.

“Taking into account all of the findings—the correlations of observation scores with both unit and state VAMs, the increase in innovating scores toward the end of the year, and the student learning gains seen at treatment schools—supports the argument that the teachers who received the professional development actually got better at teaching,” says Lindsey Devers Basileo, Ph.D., Senior Research Analyst at Learning Sciences International. “This short-duration approach stands in stark contrast to evaluation measures that score teacher practice at the end of the school year—when it’s too late for them to make adjustments.”

Learning Sciences International has released a white paper to provide detail on the research pilot data. The company will also present a webinar on Wednesday, June 3 at 3 p.m. EDT to discuss the paper and the data. Anyone interested in learning more is encouraged to register for the webinar. To contact Learning Sciences International, call 877.411.7114 or visit LearningSciences.com.

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James Hartnett
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