Evaluation of Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow (S.T.A.T.) in Baltimore County Public Schools Yr 5 mid-year Final Report
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The purpose of the present study is to evaluate the ongoing implementation and outcomes of the Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow (S.T.A.T.) initiative in Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) that began in the 2014-15 school year. Key components of S.T.A.T., as reflected in the evaluation model (see Figure 1 presented in the main report), include professional development and the resulting impact on measurable outcomes relating to the goals of improving student achievement and preparing globally competitive students. The mid-year evaluation report focused on teacher survey results, classroom observations, and student focus group findings to examine professional development offered by S.T.A.T. teachers and the impact on measurable outcomes. For this study’s fifth and final year, the participant group was composed exclusively of Lighthouse elementary, Lighthouse middle, and Lighthouse high schools at the request of the district. This sampling approach intended to better investigate the initiatives’ long-range impact on those schools with the most extensive integration of the S.T.A.T. program. At the mid-point of Year 5, the evaluation results continue to suggest that the S.T.A.T. initiative is being implemented effectively across Lighthouse schools and is making valuable progress in helping improve the perceived quality of instruction in the district. Importantly, classroom teachers believe that their S.T.A.T. teachers have played an integral role in helping them move instruction in a more learner-centered direction, and students believe that learning has become both easier and more engaging. Findings from classroom observations this fall, though mostly similar with those from previous time points, demonstrated some modest evidence of instructional changes. Teachers continue to make more extensive use of coaching and facilitating types of instruction than they do of more teacher-centered forms of instruction (i.e., presentations). Furthermore, Cohort 1 and 2 teachers, who make up those most experienced with S.T.A.T., showed visibly more frequent use of collaborative learning activities, higher-level questioning, higher-order instructional feedback, and flexible grouping arrangements, than those from Cohorts 3 and 4. These findings potentially suggest that more widespread implementation of these strategies may occur as teachers gain experience in the initiative.