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Research Going Global

Teacher effectiveness common thread in global research

Dr. James StrongeDr. James Stronge, a faculty member in our EPPL General Administration emphasis, has gone global in his recent research endeavors. Dr. Stronge is currently involved in three research projects, all of which relate to his research interest in teacher effectiveness. One study is an international comparison of national award-winning teachers, another is a project that compares U.S. and Chinese teacher beliefs and practices, and the third study examines national award-winning teachers who work with at-risk and highly-mobile students.  An additional area of research that he is currently pursuing is teacher effectiveness and teacher evaluation in American schools in South America.

Catherine Little and Leslie Grant are working collaboratively with Dr. Stronge on the international comparison of national award-winning teachers.  Teachers from the U.S., China, New Zealand, and Australia were observed and interviewed for this project.  A variety of data have been collected and analyzed. "We are now seeing what emerges from those case studies" commented Stronge.  This research team has presented the results of their study at AERA, the National Evaluation Institute, the Asian-Pacific Conference for the Gifted, and at a European conference on giftedness held in Salzburg.  Stronge, Little, and Grant currently are working on a book entitled, Great Teachers, Portraits of Classroom Excellence, to be published by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).

The U.S.-China comparison of teacher beliefs and practices is a second international study related to qualities of effective teachers.  Dr. Stronge is working on this project with Catherine Little, Leslie Grant, Xianxuan Xu, and Yaling Sun.  Preliminary findings from the study were presented at the University Council for Education Administration (UCEA) Conference in Anaheim in November. He noted, "the project is taking on a life of its own and I anticipate doing a lot more with this endeavor." The U.S.-China comparative study was also presented at the National Evaluation Institute conference in Louisville in October. "We'll be collecting and examining the data for this project during the next year or so."  

In the third study, Dr. Stronge, Patricia Popp, Leslie Grant, Yaling Sun, and Xianxuan Xu are collaborating to examine national award-winning teachers who work with at-risk and highly-mobile students.  They have completed one project in the U.S., funded by the National Center for Homeless Education.  National, regional, or state award-winning teachers who had large populations of at-risk and/or highly-mobile students were invited to participate. "One of the teachers I visited taught in a community south of San Diego and right on the border with Tijuana. ... You could see Mexico from the school. This Milken award-winning teacher had students in her class who were homeless, low income, high mobility ... one child's father had just been deported.  ... so a real mix of at-risk students." remarked Stronge.  The purpose of this study is to discover what effective teachers do to facilitate success for truly at risk students.  This strand of research also is being expanded in an effort to compare award-winning teachers of at-risk, highly-mobile students internationally.  Stronge described a recent visit to China where he observed and interviewed two teachers who work with students who have come from rural areas to urban schools with high-minority populations.  One teacher, who teaches elementary science, had a student who scored in the top 10% nationally on a science exam.  Stronge noted that the population in China is approximately four times that of the United States.  "One teacher had 74 children in his class, the other 56."  He noted that throughout the classroom observations, all students were on task, reflecting the value commonly placed on education by Chinese parents and personified in the behavior of their children. One of the teachers he observed was teaching algebra in middle school; the other teacher was teaching science (a physics lesson) in what would be equivalent to grade five.

A related area of research that Stronge is working on is designing a comprehensive teacher performance evaluation system for American schools in South America. This project is being conducted in collaboration with William F. Johnston, Director of the Academia Cotopaxi in Quito, Ecuador. The two-year project was launched in November, 2009, with the Association of American Schools in South America (AASSA) for developing meaningful and productive performance-based teacher evaluation systems for American schools in South America using Stronge's Goals and Roles Evaluation Model© . Project design will be conducted this academic year in Quito, Ecuador, with a pilot to be conducted in six schools from Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, and Peru during the 2010-2011 academic year. Full dissemination across schools in South America will occur over the next two years, with training provided in Sao Paolo, Brazil, in the spring, 2011. The project is funded by a grant from the Overseas Schools Advisory Council (OSAC) with technical support from the U.S. State Department, Office of Overseas Schools.  Stronge also was the keynote speaker at the AASSA Annual Conference in Santiago, Chile, presenting on What Makes Good Teachers Good. 

A number of presentations and publications related to these various projects and associated with Stronge's research into qualities of effective teachers have emerged in the last several months. In addition to presentations noted above are:

•        Student achievement goal setting: Honoring progress and getting results, with Leslie Grant Annual Conference of the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, Orlando, Florida.

•         The roles and responsibilities of building and district leaders in identifying and selecting the very best educators. Leading and Learning in the 21st Century Conference, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Washington, DC.

•        Qualities of effective principals in the 2st century, Leading and Learning in the 21st Century Conference, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Washington, DC.

•         Hiring the best teachers: Teacher tools that work. Pennsylvania Association School Administrators.

•       Keynote address, What works and what doesn't in teacher evaluation, Ohio Department of Education State Summit on Teacher Evaluation, Columbus, Ohio.

•       Qualities of effective principals, Pre-conference workshop for the Annual Conference of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Orlando, Florida.

•        Comparative analysis of Chinese and U.S. teachers, Yunnan Normal University, Kunming, China.

For publications, Stronge recently agreed to collaborate with Eye On Education, Inc., to publish a series entitled, "James H. Stronge Research to Practice Series." The first book in the series, "Student Achievement Goal Setting," co-authored with Leslie Grant, was published earlier this year. Two more books in the series, both related to teacher effectiveness and with Leslie Grant and Jennifer Hindman as the lead authors, are in press. Additional books in the series will be published in 2010.

Together, these research projects are extending the reach of the William & Mary School of Education in exciting new ways!