Term of Award

Fall 2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Hsiu-Lien Lu

Committee Member 1

Linda M. Arthur

Committee Member 2

Teri Denlea Melton

Abstract

The political climate surrounding academic achievement and teacher accountability is more demanding than ever before. Administrators might be able to improve teacher quality and address teacher accountability with the use of instructional coaching. It is important for all stakeholders to have data on the effectiveness of instructional coaches to enhance teacher performance and student achievement. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of instructional coaches in terms of student achievement through the perceptions of principals, instructional coaches, and teachers in Georgia elementary schools. A phenomenological research approach was designed for this purpose. In order to triangulate data, participants purposefully recruited for the study consisted of three types of stakeholders from a Northeastern Georgia school district: three principals, three instructional coaches, and three teachers. A semi-structured protocol, created based on literature and the researchers' professional experiences and judgment, was used throughout all interviews. This protocol helped ensure the consistency of all interviews and simultaneously allowed the interviewer to take notes along the interviews and probe for further explanations and clarifications. Data were verbatim transcribed and analyzed through the constant comparison and contrast approach based on grounded theory where after themes emerged. The results of this study indicated that the instructional coach had a positive but indirect effect on student achievement. Specifically, the instructional coach helped teachers grow professionally in the following areas: a) by providing professional development; b) by providing specific feedback about their instructional strategies; c) by fostering teacher collaboration and improving teacher self-efficacy, therefore changing the culture of the faculty and school; d) by helping them analyze and understand student performance data; and e) by showing and teaching them how to modify and therefore improve their instructional practices.

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