Sei sulla pagina 1di 10

Running head: ARTICLE CRITIQUE III

Article Critique III:


Knight and Cornetts (2011) Studying the Impact of Instructional Coaching
Evin Shinn
Seattle Pacific University

ARTICLE CRITIQUE III

Article Critique III: Knight and Cornetts (2011) Studying the Impact of
Instructional Coaching
Purpose and Hypothesis
Knight and Cornett (2011) were motivated to create a study around
instructional coaching after the authors discovered that there was little
empirical evidence around a topic that they had been teaching and giving
professional development on for a length of time. Because professional
development practice of coaching had only recently become en vogue within
the last ten years (pg. 2), it was important for the authors to find or create
research that would back up the monies spent all over the nation in hiring
coaches. In fact, the researchers cited Michael Kamil (pg. 2 as cited by Knight
and Cornett, 2006, pg. 16) that there is absolutely no single piece of
evidence that coaching is effective. It appears that the authors of this study
hoped to put this claim to rest.
Knight and Cornett focus particularly on the idea of instructional
coaching. They make a point to differentiate instructional coaching from
cognitive coaching and peer coaching (pg. 3). In fact, the purpose of this
investigation was three-fold: 1) it was to determine whether or not
instructional coaching had any impact on whether or not teachers [actually]
implement[ed] the proven practices and 2) if said coaching also has any
impact on the quality of instruction of new teaching practices, and 3),
authors wanted to find out what happened to the quality of the preceding
ideas once the instructional coaching stopped (pgs. 2-3).

ARTICLE CRITIQUE III

Sampling
The authors had a sample size of 50 teachers who met the following
criteria: (a) they hadnt used the instrument that is to be used during the
coaching and (b) they hadnt received any professional development on the
instrument within the last three years. However, this universe isnt quite a
universe at all as it seems that the teachers self-selected to be a part of the
study and received compensation for their time. With said compensation and
no discussion of it within the unpublished article, it is difficult to judge
whether or not teachers knew ahead of time what the authors wanted to
hear and therefore, tailored their questions or answers to fit the findings
that the authors sought particularly if they both work for the Kansas
Coaching Project at the Center for Research on Learning.
The authors also do not seem to include any data regarding the
evaluations (teacher quality) of the teachers before getting an instructional
coach (pg. 21). The authors also do not write about how each teachers class
perform on various state achievement tests, nor any metric that one might
use to assess student performance in class. It seems that the authors only
chose to focus on the teacher and various aspects of a teacher that are
unbiased and only descriptive in use, that is age, race/ethnicity, gender,
years as an educational professional, and the highest degree earned (Table
1). The population studied also does not include any elementary teachers;
therefore whatever recommendations are to come out of a study such as this
cannot be applied at the elementary school setting.

ARTICLE CRITIQUE III

The authors acknowledged on page 15 that the sampling method was


flawed as it was for teachers who were interested in the unit organizer, in
the monetary incentive, or for some other reason. Though the researchers
noticed this, they did not further inquire even anonymously why a subject
chose to attend the workshop on this unit organizer. The teachers also varied
with the students of free and reduced price lunch status across the eight
secondary schools that were students from 53% to 87.8% - a range that yield
two different school cultures by many practitioners standards. Finally, the
results of this study did not cross even district boundaries. In fact, all of the
teachers worked with came from the same urban school district with an
ethnically diverse student population of approximately 14,000 in the
midwestern United States (pg. 8).
Variables
It appears that the independent variable was whether or not the
teachers (the participants in the after-school professional development)
continued to receive instructional coaching and there were two dependent
variables: 1) the use of the teaching routine around the unit organizer and 2)
the level of quality around the use of the teaching routines introduced during
the after-school professional development.
Analyses
The authors used various methods to compare the data being
analyzed. The author divided the independent variables of how the subjects
received professional development. The dependent variables were measured

ARTICLE CRITIQUE III

two ways. The first way was a closed-ended question directed to the
observers: Was there any evidence of use of the teaching routine or
device? This would categorize the measure as observed and not observed
(pg. 9). Next, the researchers looked at the quality of the use of the
instrument that was used as rated on a four-point scale. Based on various
qualities seen, the visits were rated on a scale of zero to four (pg. 9). With
551 class periods observed by two different research aides, the interreliability of the scores was 98%, thereby making the scoring process fair.
The researchers also brought in an outside instructional coach for coaches to
check for fidelity and all of the audio recordings listened to, albeit only 43%
of them, used the instructional coaching model. It could be that the
recordings were just the ones chosen as the researchers did not choose a
random sampling as would be noted in their paper.
There was a statistically significant correlation, according to the
authors, with p < .001 between the level of professional development and
the observed behavior seen (pg. 12). Figure 2 shows this more clearly. Its
important to note that the authors hypothesis was confirmed during this
study as the results were consistent with the research with a statistically
significant correlation (pg. 12) of p < .0001. It also important to note that
that the mean of the teaching quality of the teachers with only the workshop
was lower (M = 1.08) with a larger spread of data of a whole point (SD =
1.18), while the standard deviation of those with ongoing instructional

ARTICLE CRITIQUE III

coaching was .81 and the average score was more than twice what it was
without the coaching (M = 2.81).
Conclusions
The authors of the study make it clear that there are problems inherent
in this research. For example, there was no check to see why people wanted
to be a part of the study be it money, the professional development, et
cetera (pg. 15). This creates a problem with the people that you are trying to
put into the universe in which you are describing. If you wanted a group that
better represented the teachers that will be reading the research, the study
should be involuntary as much of the professional development is in many
districts (pg. 15). Next, if the purpose of teaching is not to improve ones
instruction, but instead improve student learning. Given that premise, there
was no measurement of student learning or achievement levels pre- and
post-learning (pg. 15). Finally, this study was very particular in the schools in
which the teachers taught (pg. 16). Therefore, there is no research regarding
the impact of this work around teachers in rural areas.
There are few more conclusions to note: (1) instructional coaching will
increase the likelihood that teachers will use and adopt new strategies (pg.
16), (2) teachers who receive instructional coaching will use former
strategies with a higher quality than those who do not receive that same
coaching (pg. 16). However, it is important to note that the higher quality
may or may not appear because there is a sense of accountability with
having another adult in my classroom.

ARTICLE CRITIQUE III

Discussion
The secondary article Coaching (Knight, 2009) explored at the
beginning of the course does not explicitly even cite this unpublished paper
in its references with good reason. While the study is interesting to peruse,
the sheer narrowness of the articles demographic chosen doesnt allow for
the author to make more universal claims with only this research given. It
seems as if the author knew that the University of Kansas study (2008)
would be enough to sustain the work. Therefore, the author cites multiple
studies and only devotes a small portion the article in JSD to the unpublished
study.
There were a few similarities between the primary research article and
the secondary article that is in the journal. One main similarity between the
texts is that Knight makes it a point to explain the differences between the
various kinds of coaching within schools: cognitive coaching, instructional
coaching, and content-area/literacy coaching. Knight also explains the
importance of common practices within the instructional coaching model
including, but not limited to the facts that it is: (1) focused on professional
practice, (2) job-embedded, (3) intensive and ongoing, (4) grounded in
partnership, (5) dialogue centered, (6) nonevaluative, (7) confidential, and
(8) uses respectful communication (2009, pgs. 18-19). Knight makes it clear
that his expertise extends to instructional coaching and makes no claim
around the other types of coaching, even though each of the types of
coaching has this same type of framework.

ARTICLE CRITIQUE III

Finally, it is also critical to note that the author did not note the
problems or limitations that he encountered in the study of 51 teachers. In
fact, Knight cited 51 teachers (2009, pg. 20), instead of the 50 teachers that
actually completed the study. This small omission does ask the reader-asresearcher about what else the author may be leaving out. It does seem that
author acknowledges that there is more work to be done in the 2008 study,
yet also omits this is in the journal.

ARTICLE CRITIQUE III

References
Knight, J., & Cornett, J. (2008). Studying the impact of instructional coaching.
Unpublished manuscript. Retrieved from
http://instructionalcoach.org/research/tools/paper-studying-the-impactof-instructional-coaching
Knight, J. (2009). Coaching: The key to translating research into practice lies
in continuous, job-embedded learning with ongoing support. Journal of
Staff Development, 30 (1), 18-20.

ARTICLE CRITIQUE III


Table 1

10