Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Evidence Base on Co-teaching: Are WE There Yet?

Here at the CEC, I'm attending many quality sessions on what's new in special education. As a co-teacher, I appreciate the research and strategies for co-teaching success shared by the inclusion gurus, Marilyn Friend and Lynne Cook. If you're a co-teacher, you should know about them too. I've shared the lecture description and my notes from the session.

Lecture Description: High quality evidence on the impact of co-teaching is sorely needed. In this session, the results of a survey-and-interview study of state department of education representatives and an examination of existing professional literature will be reported in order to critically analyze the impact of co-teaching on student achievement and other outcomes.

Leaders: Marilyn Friend, University of North Carolina, Greensboro
Presenters: Lynne Cook, California State University, Dominguez Hills; Laura Hamby, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, NC; DeAnna Hurley-Chamberlain, University of North Carolina, Greensboro

Christine's Notes:
Dr. Friend, "We need co-teaching to be an evidence based practice." So let's do it!

Hoping to accomplish today:
Describe the current knowledge base
Outline dilemmas in current research
Discuss complexity
Outline strategies for completing action research

Current co-teaching research (FYI - Data older than 5 years is perception research)
It doesn't always reflect where we are now with co-teaching situations.

Case studies
  • Some observations unfortunately reveal that the primary role of special education teacher is an assistant in the classroom, when it SHOULDN'T be.
Survey of perceptions - From co-teachers, parents and students
  • Most common concern is common planning time.
meta analysis
meta synthesis

Characteristics of Co-Teaching Research
Evidence is limited but growing
Findings difficult to interpret
Current trend of research is most often found in middle and high schools

Outcomes include
self esteem academic skills
social skills
Some student include outomes of students w/out disabilities

Co-Teaching Research Weakness
  • Different definitions of co-teaching exist from school to school, class to class, person to person
  • qualitative data rather than quantitative
  • not controlling variables such as co-teaching time, subject content
  • not addressing teacher experience and preparation (with co-teaching)
Co-Teaching Research: What's Needed?
Research over time
Someone needs to be doing it
Evidence that supports or refutes what co-teaching is
  • PROBLEM - Term is being used w/out integrity in the practice
Let's design a Study on Co-Teaching
A Good Study Includes:
What is your question?
  • Are students getting specialized instruction?
  • In what ways does co-teaching improve student outcomes?
  • Is there sufficient differentiation to meet the needs of all students?
  • What models of co-teaching have more impact on special education students?
  • Could we compare those models on the success of students?

We need evidence based proof?
Some questions don't lend themselves to numbers.

Control: Take into account. (Worry about)
Kids in the class randomly assigned, but students who are comprable(spelling?)
Teachers need comparable/equivalent in teacher prep and teaching.
Kids need to be comparable, disability and impact of disability on learning, and ELL)
Knowledge of Special Educator in content area.
Length of time co-teaching with the same partner?
Planning Time? Do they have comparable planning time?
What are they doing with their planning time? If the planning time isn't being used well then the process isn't working well.
Measures of effectiveness prior to co-teaching? Effective & Mediocre Team, is that okay?
Comparable administrative support

In Read180, station teaching (co-teaching strategy) proved successful.

Dr. Cook
School-Based Research and Evaluation Data-Based Decision Making
Definition: Are there two teachers in the room both involved in the substantiative content area teaching who have parity?
Parity (Look at the percentage of time that teachers spend talking. It should be equal)

Are you looking at the process or results?
categories of Variables?

Process and or Results
Implementation Data
What's occurred?
How has service delivery changed?
******* How has instruction changed?

Outcomes (results)
What's the impact or change?
student achievement/ behavior/
perceptions? (How do kids/families feel about this model)

Extant Data
Interview/Focus Groups - Different information w/out

Dr. Majora and Simmons (Quality Indicators)

Co-Teaching Case Study
10 Year Journey
Top Down Support
Strategic Planning
Federal Legislation

Strategic Plan: Every class has inclusive practices. They are not just called inclusion.

The Plan for Inclusive Practices
Expert Consultants
Baseline Data and Results
Staffing Ratios
Professional Development (The Principal Had to Attend)
Data Collection and Analysis

A Teaching Marriage
Blend of Expertise in Strageis and Content
Student Numbers
State Tested Classes

Behavioral Interventions

FYI - SPECIAL EDUCATION IS NOT SO SPECIAL ANYMORE. Students are supported by co-teaching.

Data: Classified Students are spending more time in general education and being successful.
Are there still struggles, yes.

Support from the Top
Change to Staff Perception of Inclusive Practices (Interviews)

Lesson Learned:
  • Critical Alignment to District Plans
  • Support from the top and bottom
  • Professional Development
  • Protecting the Continuum
  • Communication
  • Staff Allotments
  • Data
What makes the difference? PLANNING

Reflections from Christine
Co-teaching is a partnership that needs to develop and adapt with the changing needs of all of the participants in the inclusion classroom. I recognize that more research needs to be done in order for the full-time co-teaching model to be more of an evidence based practice, and I'd like to be a part of the process.

When I return to the classroom, I'd love for to work with my co-teacher and student teacher to experiment with the different co-teaching models and pursue some different avenues of research and reflection, by blogging about our co-teaching experiences and by interviewing our students, their families and the administration about their experience with the co-teaching model.


loonyhiker said...

Great post! I was talking to some others about hoping to interview and Lisa this summer about the success of your inclusion program. They suggested that I ask you to interview your students too to see how they feel your class is different than others and how this class has helped them be successful. Sounded like a good idea for another post.

Marilyn said...

Christine: Someone told me that you had posted about our co-teaching research session. Thanks so much for taking the time to share the word about co-teaching. I'd love to chat with you about your plans for co-teaching and putting together the research we need to demonstrate the effectiveness of this essential practice.

Jeanne said...

This is a great post. Thanks for putting in the resources that were shared in the conference. They are a great help as I am preparing my own research.

Katrina said...

How exciting that you have received good training on co-teaching. I have been co-teaching for 5 years and have yet to experience such a wonderful lecture. My biggest concern has been planning time. As the regular education teacher I have taken on most of the planning since the special education teacher I work with co-teaches in 4 other classrooms and has many iep meetings. How do you balance your planning time?