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Eds: Thomas Kane, Kerri Kerr, Robert Pianta, July 2014, Jossey-Bass

Chapter 16: Optimizing Resources to Maximize Student Gains
Catherine A. McClellan, John R. Donoghue, and Robert Pianta

In this study, data were simulated to investigate the effects on student learning of two interventions: professional development (PD) and student-teacher assignment. The assumptions made as the basis of the simulation, and the research from which they were drawn, are described in detail. The professional development intervention was structured based on a fixed budget, so that the number of teachers receiving the PD was limited by the cost of the PD and the financial resources available. Teachers with the greatest need, as indicated by the smallest academic gains in their classes, were chosen for the PD intervention when costs limited the number of teachers to whom it could be offered. The assignment intervention was designed using either random assignment or the best alignment of students and teacher on content knowledge, on instructional and learning styles, or both. Results for all conditions are measured as the percentage of possible instructional units delivered; the number of students with no academic gain; the number of students with the maximum possible academic gain; and the number of students who complete the course with full knowledge of the course contents. With two exceptions, all conditions produced similar results. The best results were observed when students and teachers were matched on content knowledge or on instructional and learning styles.

Chapter 13: Scoring Design Decisions: Reliability and the Length and Focus of Classroom Observations
Jilliam N. Joe, Catherine A. McClellan, and Steven L. Holtzman

The field knows very little about the empirical and cognitive tradeoffs between “short” and “full” observations, or between observation instruments that require observers to attend to all observable teaching traits versus protocols that require them to attend to a few complementary traits at a time. This chapter presents two studies that address these issues; specifically, scoring design decisions associated with observation length and observation instrument structure.

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