Professional Development Report Roundup

How Strategic Teacher Pairing Can Boost Student Achievement

By Stephen Sawchuk — March 08, 2016 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

What’s one potential way to help a struggling teacher get better? Pair him or her up with a teacher who’s strong in that skill area, and give the two of them room to work together, concludes a recent experimental study.

The experiment consisted of seven treatment schools and seven control schools in Tennessee’s Jackson-Madison County school district during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years. Using prior teacher-evaluation results, which are graded on a 1-to-5 scale, principals in the treatment group matched teachers who scored below a 3 on at least one area with a teacher who had scored a 4 or higher on one of the skills. After a year, the students taught by the teachers paired with a more-skilled peer scored higher than the average student taught by such a teacher in a control school, by about 0.12 of a standard deviation. And the effects persisted the following year.

While principals and researchers let the teachers decide how to work together, one thing seemed to matter: Improvements were strongest when a teacher weak in one area was matched with a colleague who was strong in that same area. The study was released last month as a working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The research was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (Gates also supports coverage of college- and career-ready standards in Education Week.)

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the March 09, 2016 edition of Education Week


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Classroom Strategies for Building Equity and Student Confidence
Shape equity, confidence, and success for your middle school students. Join the discussion and Q&A for proven strategies.
Content provided by Project Lead The Way
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Professional Development Webinar
Disrupting PD Day in Schools with Continuous Professional Learning Experiences
Hear how this NC School District achieved district-wide change by shifting from traditional PD days to year-long professional learning cycles
Content provided by BetterLesson
Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Professional Development Accelerate Learning, in 5 Weeks
Education Week introduces its first email mini-course to help educators get up to speed on learning acceleration.
2 min read
Week 1  Intro to Learning Acceleration 600x300, email image
Adam Niklewicz for Education Week
Professional Development Opinion Revisiting Educator Collaboration: We Should Think Differently About How We Form Teams
Effective teams need to consider three essential elements, which are highlighted in this blog.
Ann Mausbach & Kim Morrison Kazmierczak
5 min read
Forming Teams
Professional Development Opinion Attending a Professional Learning Session? Many Educators Don't Know Why
It’s hard to develop a shared commitment when you don’t even know why you’re in the room.
6 min read
Untitled design