The Prevalence of Collaboration Among American Teachers
National Findings from the American Teacher Panel
A report on rates of collaboration among teachers in publics
schools was recently released.
Research Questions: What are national-level
estimates of teachers’ collaboration opportunities? To what
extent do teachers receive helpful feedback through collaboration
National Trends in Teacher Collaboration
Only 31 percent of teachers reported that they have
sufficient time to collaborate with other teachers.
Teachers who reported having greater opportunities and time
for collaboration consistently reported higher levels of
collaboration activity, regardless of the type of collaboration
Peer observation was the least common form of peer
collaboration, with 44 percent of teachers reporting that they
never observed another teacher’s classroom to get ideas for
instruction or to offer feedback in a typical month.
Only 4 percent of teachers indicated that they never met with
other teachers at their school to discuss instructional practice,
with 43 percent indicating that they do so weekly or more often.
School poverty did not have a statistically significant
relationship with teachers’ reports of collaboration
opportunities or the frequency of activities.
The association between the frequency of collaborative
feedback and its perceived helpfulness is most salient for
teachers in low-poverty schools; there is no apparent link
between frequency and perceived helpfulness among teachers in
Continuous Improvement in Practice
(Policy Analysis for California Education)
This policy brief presents research-based information on
“continuous improvement” and identifies characteristics present
in organizations that are successful in building a culture of
continuous improvement. It also identifies some areas that
district and school administrators have identified as challenging
within the current context.
While acknowledging that continuous improvement holds promise as
a means for improving educational outcomes, the brief states,
“However, the education leaders interviewed for the brief also
identified several barriers to the implementation of continuous
improvement. Three barriers include 1) a lack of clarity about
the what continuous improvement looks like in practice and how to
get there, 2) insufficient strategies and supports to grow
internal capacity for continuous improvement, 3) difficulty
prioritizing continuous improvement in a resource-constrained
environment, and 4) variation in the availability and use of data
to support continuous improvement.”
The brief goes on to identify key features of a continuous
Taking a systems perspective. Continuous improvement assumes
that it is the system and not individuals that produces current
outcomes and accordingly focuses attention on system design and
operation. It also assumes that systems can be reengineered to
address inequities in educational outcomes.
Being process-oriented. Improvement efforts focus
on the processes that produce the outcomes as opposed to focusing
exclusive attention on the outcomes themselves.
Using a disciplined methodology to solve problems.
Assumptions about cause and effect are made explicit and tested
Engaging the “front line .” Those directly responsible for
implementation (e.g., classroom teachers) are actively
involved in experimentation).
While the brief consistently identifies the intent of recent
state education policy to move away from punitive accountability
toward a growth-oriented system, one with greater capacity to
innovate, collaborate and respond appropriately to student-level
data through collective inquiry, better understanding of how the
state, county offices of education, and support providers can
effectively support continuous improvement is needed.
The 2020 Vision: Rethinking Budget Priorities Under the
LCFF report and video presentation from PACE provides
research-based strategies for LCFF implementation. Their simple
three key principle approach underscores long-term strategy for
improvement throughout the education system.