Research: The Role of Coaching in Education Change

Kathleen Osta and Margaret Perrow. “Coaching for Educational Equity: The BayCES Coaching Framework.” Bay Area Coalition for Equitable Schools, 2008.

This document summarizes the National Equity Project (formerly BayCES) coaching model, including our underlying beliefs, our vision, and the key components of our coaching practice. Our coaching model is designed to identify barriers to equity, as well as create and support conditions that can lead to equity. The model both draws on and develops best practices in coaching, instructional leadership, professional development, school design, and school-district-community partnerships.

Jake Cornett and Jim Knight. “Research on Coaching.” In Jim Knight, Ed., Coaching Approaches and Perspectives. Corwin: 2009.  

Presents a range of research on the effectiveness of coaching, including studies that found that “when teachers were given only a description of new instructional skills, only 10% used the skill in the classroom… However, when coaching was added to the staff development, approximately 95% of the teachers implemented the new skills in their classrooms.” This finding was given wide play in an article in the New Yorker by Atul Gawande describing the contribution of coaches to performance in a range of fields.

Julie Boyd, “Coaching in Context.” State of Victoria Department of Education (Australia), 2008.

A useful overview of the theory of coaching. “Coaching is designed to integrate effective staff development and successful change management by providing a continuous growth process for educators at all experience levels. Coaching is embedded professional development to promote positive cultural change in schools and districts, improve the implementation of effective practices, and foster collaborative learning environments for the purpose of improving student achievement.”


Barbara Neufeld and Dana Roper. “Coaching: A Strategy for Developing Instructional Capacity.” Education Matters and the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, 2003.

This overview examines the theory of coaching, conditions and challenges of coaching, and impacts.

“Researchers have found that student learning includes much more than remembering and repeating what the teacher has said; it also includes the capacity to use what has been learned in traditional and novel ways, the capacity to make connections between new knowledge and old… This vision of student learning casts teachers as guides or coaches who ‘facilitate learning by posing questions, challenging students’ thinking, and leading them in examining ideas and relationships.’ These activities are considered essential because ‘what students learn has to do fundamentally with how they learn it.’ The implications of these ideas for schools and teachers are significant. Schools and classrooms need to become places in which children and teachers challenge each other, places in which students approach academic content through problem solving, critical analysis, or higher-order thinking. Teaching that includes all of these components is known as teaching for understanding…To teach for understanding, teachers need new learning as well. But traditional approaches to professional development are not designed in ways that are likely to help teachers learn what they now need to know…”


“Learning to Change: School Coaching for Systemic Reform.” Carol J. Brown et al. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, 2005.

A review of coaching practices at several Gates Foundation grantee organizations, including the National Equity Project (then known as BayCES).

News on recent research from the National Equity Project Blog: