Instructional Coaching

  • External evaluation of South Carolina State Department of Education project 2007–2010
  • Project to build capability and capacity in middle school science teachers with site-based instructional coaches
  • Funding source: joint project between the South Carolina Coalition for Math and Science (SCCMS) and the Math and Science Unit (MSU) of the South Carolina State Department of Education

BSCS researchers conducted an evaluation study of a SCCMS and South Carolina State Department of Education MSU project. The three-year project, iCoaching (Instructional Coaching), trained and supported coaches at the middle school level to build capability and capacity in three areas: pedagogy, content, and professional relationships.

The main research questions for the study were:

  1. What is the nature of an effective specialist/iCoach relationship?
  2. What is the nature of an effective iCoach/teacher relationship?
  3. What is the nature of an effective iCoach/school administrator relationship?
  4. Can iCoaches be supported effectively through virtual technologies?
  5. What are the optimal characteristics/behaviors of specialists/iCoaches/teachers?
  6. Does the program increase the pedagogical and content knowledge of teachers?

Additional questions for the final report included:

  1. What is the nature of the transition process in schools whose iCoaches have completed the three-year program and are now supported by iCoach 4.0?
  2. What is the nature of the transition process in Cohort 1 schools where iCoaches are no longer in place?
  3. What is the impact of the iCoaching program on:
    1. iCoaches’ ability to affect changes in middle school math/science instructional practices?
    2. School administrators’ cooperative efforts with iCoaches to increase teacher collaboration and student achievement?
    3. Teachers’ self-directed enrichment of collaborative efforts and instructional strategies?

The final report was submitted in September 2010. Findings indicate that effective relationships exist between and among the levels of the iCoaching program: specialists, school administrators, iCoaches and teachers are characterized by trust, support, honesty, flexibility, confidentiality, mutual respect, and communication toward a common goal. With respect to the sustainability of the iCoaching program’s mission after completion of the project, results indicate that iCoaches in their final year have focused on providing their administrators and teachers with skills and strategies that will hopefully be continued in subsequent years.

Click here to learn more about the iCoaching project.