Landmark Study Reveals A Key to Student Achievement
Research shows that teachers are the single most important school factor contributing to students’ achievement. At the same time, districts and schools struggle to improve teachers’ professional practice. With students across the country expected to reach rigorous new standards, addressing these challenges is more important than ever.
TPP, a five-year study supported by a federal “Investing in Innovation” grant, was conducted by Mathematica to evaluate novice and veteran English Language Arts teachers and included 4th-8th grade students, over 70 percent of whom were economically disadvantaged, attending 70 schools in 18 districts across the U.S., including 10 districts in large, urban areas. After two years of TPP coaching and curriculum support, the study found positive impacts on student achievement, as measured by state assessments. After one year of EL Education’s integrated coaching and curriculum support, there was a significant, positive impact on teachers’ instructional practices. This included key aspects linked to higher achievement such as engaging students in reading, writing, and speaking about texts; supporting students’ higher order thinking; and increasing students’ use of textual evidence.
Mathematica employed a “gold standard” randomized control trial design that 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.
“This landmark research study not only filled a gap in the education research field, but it also proved EL Education’s theory of action that excellent curriculum supported by powerful, ongoing professional development can result in the highest achievement for all students, said Beth Miller, Chief Knowledge Officer at EL Education. “We are proud that EL Education is the first ELA open-access curriculum provider to show that our high quality instructional resources combined with excellent professional learning has a real impact on teachers and students.”
The EL Education Language Arts curriculum is a comprehensive, standards-based core literacy program that engages teachers and students through compelling, real world content and builds equitable and inclusive learning opportunities for all students. By focusing on three dimensions of student achievement—mastery of knowledge and skills, character, and high-quality work—EL Education has developed an innovative, research-based model for school improvement and “whole child” student achievement. EL Education’s curriculum inspires teachers to fulfill their highest aspirations and motivates students to achieve more than they think possible.
Alexandra Fenwick, Associate Director of Communications
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