Building Teachers’ Data-use Capacity: Insights from Strong and Developing Coaches

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Abstract

Coaching has become a central strategy in district and school efforts to build teacher capacity to interpret and respond to student learning data. Despite their popularity, there is limited research on the implementation of these initiatives. This article begins to addresses this gap by examining the elements of a coach’s practice that appear to build teachers’ skills and knowledge to use data to guide instructional decisions. Drawing on sociocultural learning theory and interview and survey data collected in four middle schools—two with “strong” coaches and two with “developing” coaches—we find that coaching to build data-use capacity appears to rely less on the official title or model (i.e., data coach vs. instructional coach) and more on the diversity of coach practices as well as content area and interpersonal expertise. Further, administrators play an important role in shaping the work of a coach through their mediation of political dynamics in a school. The article concludes with implications for coaching practice, as well as suggestions to guide future research and theory development.

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How to Cite
Huguet, A., Marsh, J. A., & Farrell, C. (2014). Building Teachers’ Data-use Capacity: Insights from Strong and Developing Coaches. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 22, 52. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.v22n52.2014
Section
Politics, Policies, and Practices of Coaching and Mentoring Programs
Author Biographies

Alice Huguet, University of Southern California Rossier School of Education

Alice Huguet is a Dean’s PhD fellow at the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education. Her research interests include parent engagement policies, data use for urban school improvement, and interorganizational collaboration.

Julie A Marsh, University of Southern California Rossier School of Education

Julie A. Marsh, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Education Policy at the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education, who specializes in research on K-12 policy. Her research blends perspectives in education, sociology, and political science. Her research focuses on the implementation and effects of accountability and instructional reform policies, including the roles of cen­tral office administrators, intermediary organizations, and community members in educational reform and the use of data to guide decision making.

Caitlin Farrell, University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Education

Caitlin Farrell is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, where she researches effective partnerships between school districts and research organizations. She holds a PhD in urban education policy from the University of Southern California. Dr. Farrell specializes in research on policy implementation, K–12 urban educational reform, and accountability, and her research blends perspectives in education, public policy, and organizational theory.