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Teacher Potential Project

Mathematica Policy Research finds evidence that EL Education’s curriculum and professional development  can transform teacher practice

A recent Mathematica study showed that EL Education’s  professional development, combined with curriculum, empowers both novice and veteran teachers to change their practice to meet the demands of state standards. These groundbreaking results have the power to change the ways we imagine and nurture teacher potential. The results present a promising deviation from the trends in the existing body of research, which suggest that teachers cannot elevate their practice until they have more experience. We’re proud to see evidence from the renowned research team at Mathematica that we can help teachers achieve ambitious teacher practice goals, even in their first year.

Download the full report or discover highlights from the report below.

Key Findings

The evaluation examined teaching practices that research suggests have the potential for high leverage in preparing students to meet rigorous state learning standards. Impact estimates showed positive effects of the Teacher Potential Project (TPP) on teachers’ Common Core State Standards (CCSS)-aligned instructional practices as well as on students’ critical thinking skills and engagement with texts. 

  • TPP novice teachers had students do close readings of the text and developed students’ content knowledge more often than the control novice teachers.
  • TPP novice teachers more often encouraged students’ high-order thinking skills—such as inference, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
  • More TPP novice teachers had their students cite evidence from texts, a key research-based skill in the CCSS.
  • Students taught by TPP novice teachers engaged more often in practices that develop students’ responsibility for their own learning.

About the Study

EL Education commissioned Mathematica to conduct a rigorous, independent evaluation of the Teacher Potential Project (TPP). The study includes 72 schools in 18 districts across the country, including 10 districts in large, urban areas.

The study team created matched pairs of schools within each district and then randomly assigned schools within those pairs either to adopt the TPP or to continue with the curriculum

and professional development offered by the district and school (the control condition). The study team compared teachers’ practices across the TPP and control groups by using data from classroom observations conducted by trained members of the research team and surveys of teachers.

Mathematica will examine the impact of TPP on student achievement using students’ state English/ language arts test scores. The study team will estimate one-year and two-year impacts of the TPP on students by comparing those taught by TPP teachers versus those taught by the control teachers. These findings will be available in the summer of 2019.

These excerpts are provided courtesy of Mathematica Policy Research and are drawn from the brief by Jane Choi, Scott Richman, and Sarah Dolfin. Download the complete brief.