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Effects of principals and teachers’ feedback on their practice
Marta Pellegrini, University of Florence, Italy
A recent randomized evaluation conducted by Mengli Song and colleagues investigated the effects of feedback to teachers and principals. The intervention under evaluation lasted two school years and consisted of feedback on classroom practice, student growth, and principal leadership. Feedback on classroom practice included in-person classroom observations and a report with ratings and narrative feedback to be discussed with teachers. Feedback on student growth compared a target school’s student test scores to those of similar students in the same district. Finally, principal leadership was measured twice a year and results were discussed with the principals.
The study took place in 126 elementary and middle schools. Sixty-three schools were randomly assigned to the treatment group and the same number to the control group. After two years, the researchers measured the effect on teachers’ classroom practice by video-recorded lessons using CLASS (Classroom Assessment and Scoring System) and FFT (Danielson’s Framework for Teaching). Principal leadership was measured through a teacher survey, and academic achievement by state standardized tests in reading and mathematics.
Results showed significant positive results in teachers’ classroom practice measured through CLASS (ES = +0.17, p < 0.05) but not through FFT (ES = +0.04, n.s.). On principal leadership, there were significant positive effects on instructional leadership (ES = +0.19, p < 0.05) and teacher-principal trust (ES = +0.19, p < 0.05). A small impact was found for student academic achievement, with a non-significant effect size of +0.02 in reading and +0.06 in math.
The researchers concluded that this intervention had significant impact on teacher classroom practice and principal leadership, and promising effects on student academic achievement.