Teacher Effects on Students’ Non-Cognitive Competencies: A Study of Impacts, Instruction, and Improvement

What teaching practices support the development of students’ non-cognitive competencies? Can a coaching program help teachers to strengthen these practices?

A growing consensus is emerging among policymakers, educators, and scholars that teachers can reduce educational inequality by reversing existing disparities in non-cognitive competencies. Despite growing momentum for teaching non-cognitive competencies, we know little about whether and how teachers can develop these competencies among students. There also exists a range of competing hypotheses about what classroom practices hold the greatest potential for promoting these competencies. This study has three primary research aims: (1) to identify and compare the effects that elementary-school teachers have on students’ academic perseverance and mindsets; (2) to identify classroom practices that are strong predictors of teacher effects on students’ academic perseverance and mindsets in elementary school, and to develop a prototype of an observation instrument designed to assess these classroom practices; and (3) to design and pilot a teacher coaching program centered on providing early-career teachers in urban elementary schools immediate, individualized, and sustained feedback about their instruction as assessed by this observation instrument. Kraft’s analyses will draw on two large-scale experimental datasets: the Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) project and the National Center for Teacher Effectiveness (NCTE) study on elementary math teachers.

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