PAIR Final Comprehensive Report Part 1: Teacher Impact

by Gail E. Burnaford

Sep 1, 2010
Forty years ago, there was widespread belief that teachers and schools had little influence on students' achievement independent of their socioeconomic background and context. More recent studies of teacher effects at the classroom level, however, such as those using the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System, have found that differential teacher effectiveness is a strong determinant of differences in student learning, far outweighing the effects of differences in class size and heterogeneity. Students who are assigned to several ineffective teachers in a row have significantly lower achievement and gains in achievement than those who are assigned to several highly effective teachers in sequence. Teacher effects appear to be additive and cumulative, and generally not compensatory. These issues have been the topic of much other research over the last 50 years . More and more research is conducted with teacher practice and professional development as part of the context for investigating student outcomes. That is what the PAIR project has done during this research initiative. The Partnerships in Arts Integration Research (PAIR) project was a three-year initiative focused on the intersections between arts and non-arts content learning in two mathematics and science, two world languages and two writing Magnet Cluster Schools in Chicago. This section of the final report will focus on the impact of the project on the teachers, with particular attention to the third year of the project in which documentation was more intentional and systematic in each school. The 6 PAIR schools were matched with 6 control schools also in the Arts Magnet Cluster Schools program in Chicago Public Schools. A Year-End Curriculum and Teaching Survey was administered to 4th, 5thand 6th grade teachers in all twelve schools during Year Three of the project. Other data were also collected from the teachers in the 6 PAIR schools, including professional development session surveys and attendance figures, portfolio conference transcribed comments, student work and teacher practice labels and documentation from work completed at professional development sessions (documentation panels and curriculum maps).
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