23 SES 01 B, Teaching and Teacher Education
The literature on policy implementation in education has largely concluded that implementing instructional change at a large-scale level is a substantial challenge, especially when the change is top-down (Hamilton, et al., 2003; Dumay, 2009). Many reforms fail in their twin goals to change teaching practices and improve student achievement (Dupriez, 2015), even if reforms are based on scientific evidence. These issues have led – in the USA – to a new kind of reform: Comprehensive School Reforms (CSR) with two main objectives: (1) going on implementing evidence-based practices in schools, and (2) having a special attention on the implementation process in order to avoid the gradual drift of reform objectives in the field (Rowan, Barnes, & Camburn, 2004).
By analysing several CSR, the Consortium for Policy Research in Education has shown that instructional change was better promoted in structured approach using a professional control or a procedural one. Professional control is based on collaboration and colleagues’ support. The procedural one is based on the standardization of instructional practices and precise guidelines (Rowan & Miller, 2007). According to Marz (2014), specific instruments as artifacts are not only the result of a changing process but they are a part of the process itself. Artifacts – as they bear values and norms – are a fundamental aspect of organizational routines. Consequently, new instruments introduce new values and norms – carried on by program designers – in organizational routines, and then could contribute to changing practices.
But other researches on instructional change at large scale (Honig, 2009; Dumay & Dupriez, 2009) have also highlighted that changing educational practices also requires, within institutions, a convergent set of elements that will facilitate and encourage the development of new teaching practices. In a review of literature Durlak and DuPre (2008) have highlighted 23 contextual factors, grouped into 5 categories, which may influence implementation. Two of those categories have caught our attention. The first one is “the provider characteristics” including the self-efficacy concept. The importance of teachers’ characteristics was already highlighted by Dusenbury & al. (2003). The second category mentioned by Durlak and DuPre (2008) concerns the “organizational capacity” of school. Shared decision-making – throughout collaboration – seems to promote the implementation process. It also seems that colleagues and direction support would have positive effects. However, none of those authors have explained how these factors are supposed to develop a higher level of implementation.
In addition, Desimone (2002) emphasizes the importance of providing training related to the new practices because reforms require teachers to change both the way they perceive student learning and their teaching practices (Meirink, Imants, Meijer, & Verloop, 2010). Training is supposed to develop and support providers’ characteristics before the implementation of new practices. But more than training, involving teachers collaborative activities during the implementation process is attempted to lead to higher levels of implementation thanks to the development of providers’ characteristics and the organizational capacity. Teachers themselves report that collaborating with colleagues create a powerful learning environment (Lohman, 2005). Furthermore, the organizational configuration of school makes difficult teachers to collaborate (Dumay, 2009). One way to help teachers to collaborate around their practices is to offer them coaching during the school year (Savoie-Zjac, 2010).
It remains unclear, however, which factors – both individual and collective – can affect the implementation process and if training and/or learning communities could support these factors. The major objective of this presentation will be to explore these issues based on the analyses of experimental data of a literacy instruction program implementation.
First, we identify which providers’ characteristics and organizational factors lead to higher levels of implementation. Second, we look at the effect of coaching educative team. We hypothesize that supporting learning communities – through coaching sessions – lead to better organizational capacity and to reinforcement of providers’ characteristics, and thus to higher levels of implementation. An experimental study was conducted in a sample of Belgian secondary schools (n = 12) and classes (n = 49) with the objective to foster competencies in reading comprehension of 7th graders. Schools were randomly assigned to two experimental conditions. In the first one, Language Art teachers received a structured didactic intervention called Lirécrire pour apprendre with training adapted to its use. In the second one, teachers were, in addition, coached during the school year. Data collection was organized around three times: (1) before the intervention to assess teachers’ and schools’ characteristics (2) during the school year to assess the implementation process, and (3) after the intervention to assess again teachers’ and schools’ characteristics. Data were collected on the basis of self-reported questionnaires validated by factor analysis and Cronbach’s alphas. To assess implementation, we have based our measurement on its two dimensions: intensity and conformity (Durlak & DuPré, 2008; Fortin, 2012). The intensity indicator represents the proportion of activities done in each class by teachers. Data were reported by teachers in checklists. Conformity of implementation refers to the quality with which teachers implement the core elements of the program. It was reported by students and teachers on Likert scale items. We have built two indicators: (1) the conformity reported by teachers, and (2) the conformity perceived by students. Teachers’ characteristics were measured at two levels: a general one and a specific one related to the program implemented. At the general level, teachers were asked about their self-efficacy related to general teaching abilities and about the value they give to teaching reading and writing strategies. At the specific level, we have adapted our self-efficacy scale and our task-value scale to the program implemented. Finally, organizational capacity (like collaboration, shared standards, openness to innovation) was also measured throughout Likert-scales at two levels. First, we asked teachers about these dimensions at school level in general, and then around the program the implemented. Data were analysed with SPSS 25 software using ANONVA’s and linear regressions to highlight the predictive power of individual and collective factor on implementation.
Analyses are still ongoing, but preliminary results from linear regressions show that clear instructions (B = .47 ; p < .001), teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs in implementing activities (B = .44 ; p < .01), and teachers’ perception of school principal’s openness to innovation (B = .36 ; p < .05) lead to higher levels of intensity of implementation. The conformity reported by teachers is higher when they perceived the program as an innovate tool (B = .44 ; p < .01), when they feel more able to manage their class during activities proposed in the program (B = .38 ; p < .05), and when they perceived the school principal open to innovation (B = .38 ; p < .05). But shared decision-making seems to have a negative impact on the level of conformity reported by teachers (B = -.64 ; p < .001). Finally, the conformity perceived by students is predicted by clear instructions (B = .31 ; p < .05), by teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs in implementing activities (B = .34 ; p < .05), and by values that teachers give to their Language Art courses (B = -.42 ; p < .01). Those results will be explored in depth and discuss for the presentation.
Desimone, L. (2002). How Can Comprehensive School Reform Models Be Successfully Implemented? Review of Educational Research, 72(3), 433-479. Dumay, X. (2009). Origins and Consequences of Schools’ Organizational Culture for Student Achievement. Educational Administration Quarterly, 45(4), 523-555. Dumay, X., & Dupriez, V. (2009). L'efficacité dans l'enseignement. Promesses et zones d'ombre. Bruxelles: De Boeck. Dupriez, V. (2015). Peut-on réformer l’école ? Approches organisationnelle et institutionnelle du changement pédagogique. Bruxelles: De Boeck. Durlak, J., & DuPré, E. (2008). Implementation Matters: A Review of Research on the Influence of Implementation on Program Outcomes and the Factors Affecting Implementation. American Journal of Community Psychology(41), 327-350. Fortin, L. (2012). Trait d’Union : Programme de prévention du décrochage scolaire au secondaire. Université de Sherbrooke. Sherbrooke: Université de Sherbrooke. Hamilton, L. S., McCaffrey, D. F., Stecher, B. M., Klein, S. P., Robyn, A., & Bugliari, D. (2003). Studying Large-Scale Reforms of Instructional Practice: An Example from Mathematics and Science. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 25(1), 1-29. Honig, M. I. (2009). What works in defining « what works » in educational improvement ? Dans G. Sykes, B. Schneider, & D. N. Plank, Handbook of education policy research (pp. 333-347). New-York: Routledge. Lohman, M. C. (2005). A survey of factors influencing the engagement of two professional groups in informal workplace learning activities. Human Resource Development Quarterly(16), 501-527. Marz, V. (2014). I takes two to tango. Structuring actors and acting structures in the implementation of educational innovations. Leuven: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. Meirink, J. A., Imants, J., Meijer, P. C., & Verloop, N. (2010). Teacher learning and collaboration in innovative teams. Cambridge Journal of Education, 40(2), 161-181. Rowan, B., & Miller, R. (2007). Organizational strategies for promoting instructional change: implementation dynamics in schools working with comprehensive school reform providers. American Educational Research Journal, 44(2), 252-297. Rowan, B., Barnes, C., & Camburn, E. (2004). Benefiting from Comprehensive School Reform : A Review of Research on CSR Implementation. Dans C. T. Cross, Putting the Pieces Together : Lessons from Comprhensive School Reform (pp. 1-52). Whasington: The National Clearinghouse for Comprehensive School Reform. Savoie-Zjac, L. (2010). Les dynamiques d’accompagnement dans la mise en place de communautés d’apprentissage de personnels scolaires. Education et Formation, 293, 9-20.
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