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The Effects of Professional Development and Coaching on Teaching Practices

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Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

First-year Programs Division: Best Papers

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

10

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/31093

Download Count

143

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Paper Authors

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Eugene Judson Arizona State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/https://0000-0002-0124-8476

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Eugene Judson is an Associate Professor of for the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. He also serves as an Extension Services Consultant for the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT). His past experiences include having been a middle school science teacher, Director of Academic and Instructional Support for the Arizona Department of Education, a research scientist for the Center for Research on Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology (CRESMET), and an evaluator for several NSF projects. His first research strand concentrates on the relationship between educational policy and STEM education. His second research strand focuses on studying STEM classroom interactions and subsequent effects on student understanding. His work has been cited more than 2200 times and he has been published in multiple peer-reviewed journals such as Science Education and the Journal of Research in Science Teaching.

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Lydia Ross Arizona State University

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Lydia Ross is a doctoral student and graduate research assistant at Arizona State University. She is a third year student in the Educational Policy and Evaluation program. Her research interests focus on higher education equity and access, particularly within STEM.

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Kara L. Hjelmstad Arizona State University

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Kara Hjelmstad is a faculty associate in Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University.

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Stephen J. Krause Arizona State University

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Stephen Krause is professor in the Materials Science Program in the Fulton School of Engineering at Arizona State University. He teaches in the areas of introductory materials engineering, polymers and composites, and capstone design. His research interests include evaluating conceptual knowledge, misconceptions and technologies to promote conceptual change. He has co-developed a Materials Concept Inventory and a Chemistry Concept Inventory for assessing conceptual knowledge and change for introductory materials science and chemistry classes. He is currently conducting research on NSF projects in two areas. One is studying how strategies of engagement and feedback with support from internet tools and resources affect conceptual change and associated impact on students' attitude, achievement, and persistence. The other is on the factors that promote persistence and success in retention of undergraduate students in engineering. He was a coauthor for best paper award in the Journal of Engineering Education in 2013.

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Robert J. Culbertson Arizona State University

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Robert J. Culbertson is an Associate Professor of Physics. Currently, he teaches introductory mechanics and electrodynamics for physics majors and a course in musical acoustics, which was specifically designed for elementary education majors. He is director of the ASU Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) Project, which strives to produce more and better high school physics teachers. He is also director of Master of Natural Science degree program, a graduate program designed for in-service science teachers. He works on improving persistence of students in STEM majors, especially under-prepared students and students from under-represented groups.

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Keith D. Hjelmstad Arizona State University

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Keith D. Hjelmstad is Professor of Civil Engineering in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment at Arizona State University.

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Lindy Hamilton Mayled Arizona State University

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Lindy Hamilton Mayled is a PhD candidate at Grand Canyon University. She is pursuing her PhD in Psychology of Learning, Education, and Technology. Her background in in K-12 education where she has served as a high school science teacher, Instructional and Curriculum Coach, and Assistant Principal. Her research and areas of interest are in improving STEM educational outcomes for Low-SES students through the integration of active learning and technology-enabled frequent feedback. She currently works as the Project Manager for the NSF faculty development program based on evidence-based teaching practices.

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James A. Middleton Arizona State University

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James A. Middleton is Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Director of the Center for Research on Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology at Arizona State University. For the last three years he also held the Elmhurst Energy Chair in STEM education at the University of Birmingham in the UK. Previously, Dr. Middleton was Associate Dean for Research in the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education at Arizona State University, and Director of the Division of Curriculum and Instruction. He received his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1992, where he also served in the National Center for Research on Mathematical Sciences Education as a postdoctoral scholar.

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Abstract

Engineering faculty, across six disciplines, at a large university in the Southwest participated in professional development supported by an NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education grant during the 2016-17 academic year. The two-semester sequence involved faculty participating in bi-weekly discipline-based workshops during Fall 2016. These workshops promoted student-centered classrooms, using formative feedback to refine teaching and learning, and emphasizing real-world connections. During Spring 2017, faculty were to focus on classroom implementation while also participating in discipline-based communities-of-practice. The communities-of-practice sessions focused on themes featured in the workshops, but allowed for more give-and-take, flexibility of topics, and sharing of instructional ideas.

Throughout the academic year, classroom practices of the faculty were evaluated by trained observers using the Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol (RTOP). The RTOP is a 25-item validated observation protocol that has been utilized in numerous middle school through postsecondary projects. The RTOP focuses on gauging the degree to which learning environments are student-centered in science, engineering, and mathematics. Complete observation data were available for 26 faculty members who were observed twice early during the fall semester (pre-observations) and twice late during the spring semester (post-observations). The two pre-observations occurred during the fall semester and post-observations occurred during the last six weeks of the spring semester. It is noted that faculty were also observed twice early during the spring semester, but this study focuses on the changes between the first and last sets of observations. Because many faculty members became interested in the use of the RTOP and were eager to improve their instructional approaches, an unplanned strategy to support faculty emerged. Faculty members (n = 21) requested to receive one-on-one feedback with an observer who was also an experienced K-12 instructional coach. These coaching sessions typically honed in on a few RTOP items, provided the instructor with insight about student engagement, and offered concrete suggestions for improving instructional practices.

The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of (1) participation in the professional development, and (2) receiving coaching, on instructional practices, as measured by the RTOP. Analysis indicated RTOP mean scores increased significantly (n = 26, p = .014) from pre-observations (x̄ = 57.1) to post-observations (x̄ = 68.6).

The comparison of the small group of five faculty members, who opted to not receive coaching, to the 21 faculty members, who opted for coaching, did not allow for robust comparison. However, although not statistically significant, the coached group had notably greater mean RTOP gains from pre-to-post (Δ = 12.8, SD = 12.8) than the non-coached group (Δ = 6.2, SD = 8.8). Normalized gain scores (aka Hake scores) were calculated to provide comparisons independent of pre-RTOP scores. The normalized gain scores are calculated as a proportion of change in RTOP scores compared to possible change. Here too, although not statistically significant, there were indications of the benefits of being coached. The coached group had conspicuously greater normalized gain scores (g = 0.20) than the non-coached group (g = 0.13).

Judson, E., & Ross, L., & Hjelmstad, K. L., & Krause, S. J., & Culbertson, R. J., & Hjelmstad, K. D., & Mayled, L. H., & Middleton, J. A. (2018, June), The Effects of Professional Development and Coaching on Teaching Practices Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/31093

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