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The impact of a formal teacher leadership program on student performance




teacher leadership, interrupted time series, impact study


Formal teacher leader programs that develop, position, and reward teachers to work with peers to improve instruction are a growing reform effort in the United States, yet there are few published studies of their efficacy. In this paper, we examine the impacts of one district’s teacher leadership program on students’ annual state test performance. The program placed full-time instructional coaches and partly released English language arts (ELA) and mathematics content specialists in each of 11 district schools. To assess the program’s impact, we examined five years of student-level state test data; two years before the adoption of the intervention and three years afterwards. Using an interrupted time series design, we examined trends in performance before and after the adoption of the intervention. Overall, there were no significant effects in ELA, and a small negative effect in mathematics. By contrast, in the stable sub-sample of students who were in the district for the five years examined in the study, there was a large significant positive effect in mathematics and large but non-significant positive effect in ELA. We conclude with a discussion the implications of these findings for research and policy.


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Author Biographies

Jonathan A. Supovitz, University of Pennsylvania

Jonathan A. Supovitz is a professor of leadership and policy at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania and Director of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE).

Meghan Comstock, University of Pennsylvania

Meghan C. Comstock is a doctoral student in the education policy program at the University of Pennsylvania.


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How to Cite

Supovitz, J. A., & Comstock, M. (2023). The impact of a formal teacher leadership program on student performance. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 31.