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Collaboration With Colleagues Increases Teacher Quality, Study Finds

Collaboration with Colleagues Increases Teacher Quality, Study Finds

A new study from an assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Education looks at the relationships that teachers have with their colleagues and how certain ones are directly correlated to teacher and student success, the first study of its kind on a district level.

"The researchers used surveys and administrative data to study more than 9,000 teachers in 336 schools to determine the amount and quality of collaborative efforts among teachers in the Miami-Dade County Public School System, the 4th-largest district in the country," said Phys.org.

The study divided areas of collaboration into three kinds: "instructional strategies and curriculum; instructional approaches to groups or specific students, regarding classroom work, student discipline and class management; and approaches to assessment, including review of state test results," the article said.

It found that 85 percent of teachers within the district were part of some kind of instructional team based on these areas and that 90 percent said that being a part of an instructional team was helpful.

While studies in the past have looked at the role of teacher collaboration on student achievement, this is reportedly the first study to look at different kinds of collaboration and the specific impact each has on specific indicators of achievement.

"For example, the team found that high-quality collaboration about assessment, rather than about students or instructional strategies/curriculum, were better predictors of student math achievement gains. However, better quality collaboration across a range of instructional domains, rather than about a single domain, was most predictive of better student achievement," the article said.

The study found that teacher quality improves in schools with greater collaboration among teachers, too.

"'We use an innovative modeling strategy to show that a teacher's rate of improvement is greater in schools with better quality collaboration, as compared to the same teacher's rate of improvement in schools with worse quality collaboration...Differences in teacher quality are unlikely to explain these results because we are examining the same teacher in different settings," said Matthew Ronfeldt, the assistant professor that ran the study with colleagues to Phys.org.

Read more about the study here and comment thoughts in the comment section below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

07/02/2015

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