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IES Grant

Title: Features of Early Childhood Education Coaching Interventions that Mediate and Moderate Impacts on Teacher-Child Interactions and Child Outcomes
Center: NCER Year: 2017
Principal Investigator: Pianta, Robert C. Awardee: University of Virginia
Program: Early Learning Programs and Policies      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years (07/01/2017-06/30/2019) Award Amount: $599,223
Type: Exploration Award Number: R305A170120

Co-Principal Investigators: Jamie DeCoster and Eric Ruzek

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to analyze data from two evaluation studies of the MyTeachingPartner (MTP) coaching model to identify malleable coaching factors that are associated with teacher and child outcomes. Recent evidence from the analysis of Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) indicate that teacher-child interactions are related to children's school readiness and school success. Although coaching is widely used, little is known about the possible effects of coaching features on student or teacher outcomes. This study may lead to improvements in the use of coaching as a form of professional development, identification of aspects of coaching that support student learning, and have implications for other coaching interventions designed to address the quality of interactions and instruction in early childhood programs.

Project Activities: Researchers will combine samples and data from two recent randomized controlled studies of MTP in diverse publicly-funded prekindergarten programs and classrooms to examine key features of the coaching model. Using secondary data, the team will investigate whether features of the MTP coaching model (e.g., number of coaching cycles, nature of feedback to teachers) mediate MTP effects on student's language and literacy skills and teacher instruction. They will also examine the extent to which teacher or classroom characteristics moderate the effect of MTP on teacher and student outcomes.

Products: Researchers will produce preliminary evidence of potentially promising components of coaching that are associated with teachers' instructional practices and child outcomes. The team will also produce peer-reviewed publications.  

Structured Abstract

Setting: Two randomized controlled evaluations of MTP coaching were conducted in state-funded pre-K and Head Start programs in more than 12 sites across the United States. All of the sites were in urban locations.

Sample: Participants in the two studies were prekindergarten teachers (n = 575) and the 2,308 ethnically and socioeconomically diverse students in their classrooms. The first MTP study sample (MTP-1) included 171 teachers from a state-funded pre-k program who were randomly assigned to MTP or a control group. The student sample included 738 ethnically diverse children. Twenty percent of the children spoke a language other than English at home. The second MTP study sample (MTP-2) included 404 teachers who were randomly assigned to MTP and control conditions. Most teachers worked in Head Start (61 percent) or public pre-k (34 percent) programs. The student sample included 1570 children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Intervention: MyTeachingPartner (MTP) is an online, video-based coaching model.  The MTP coaching model uses the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) to observe and define effective and ineffective teacher-child interactions. In each intervention study, coaching occurred in a regular cycle of web-mediated interaction between a teacher and a coach. Each teacher in the MTP group regularly videotaped her instruction and sent the recordings to her coach. The coach viewed and edited each recording into three segments that highlighted a specific CLASS domain. The video segments and the coach's written feedback was posted to a secure website where the teacher viewed the segments, read the feedback, and responded to prompts from the coach. Once the teacher responded to the coach's prompts, the teacher and coach met by telephone or via the website to analyze the teacher's responses to the video segments and the coach's prompts, and plan applications to the classroom.

Research Design and Methods: Researchers will analyze data from two evaluation studies of the MTP coaching model. In the first MTP study, teachers in a state-funded pre-k program were randomly assigned to treatment (MTP) and control conditions. Teachers in the MTP group participated in coaching sessions throughout the school year. Data collection included pre- and post-test assessments of child and teacher outcomes, classroom observations, information about MTP coaching cycles, a teacher background questionnaire, and family demographic information. The second MTP study took place in the context of the IES-funded National Center for Research on Early Childhood Education (NCRECE) professional development study. Two cohorts of preschool and Head Start programs were recruited and randomly assigned to MTP or the control group. Data collection included pre- and post-test teacher-, classroom-, and child-level data, background and demographic information about teachers and children and parents, CLASS observations, and implementation data from MTP coaching cycles.

In this study, researchers will use data from the two evaluation studies to examine mediators and moderators of associations between components of coaching and teacher or child outcomes. In year 1, researchers will combine samples and data from the two MTP studies and create a joint dataset. They will conduct analyses to examine the extent to which features of MTP coaching meditate effects on student and teacher outcomes and explore classroom and teacher characteristics that may moderate effects of MTP coaching on teacher and child outcomes. In year 2, researchers will conduct sensitivity analyses and disseminate the study findings.

Control Condition: The control condition includes two groups of teachers and children in business-as-usual classrooms from the two evaluation studies.

Key Measures: Primary measures included direct assessments of children's language and literacy skills and teacher report of students' language and literacy skills. Teachers' instructional practices and interactions with children were assessed using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System.

Data Analytic Strategy: Researchers will conduct mediation analyses to examine components of MTP coaching that mediate treatment effects on student and teacher outcomes. They will conduct moderation analyses to identify possible classroom and teacher characteristics that moderate treatment impacts on student and teacher outcomes. The researchers will also conduct sensitivity tests to further examine model assumptions and associations between coaching and teacher and student outcomes.

Related IES Projects: National Center for Research on Early Childhood Education (R305A060021)