LITERACY COACHING

LITERACY COACHING: A CATALYST FOR CHANGE IN TEACHER SELF-EFFICACY AND STUDENT READING ACHIEVEMENT GROWTH
A CAPSTONE RESEARCH PROJECT
Submitted to the Faculty
In partial fulfillment of the requirements
For the degree of
Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership
By
Sheila O’Neil-Brown
Wingate University
Ballantyne Campus
Charlotte, NC
LITERACY COACHING: A CATALYST FOR CHANGE IN TEACHER SELF-EFFICACY AND STUDENT READING ACHIEVEMENT GROWTH
ABSTRACT
With the advent of the South Carolina Read to Succeed Act, authorized in 2014, school districts are required to implement a comprehensive system of ongoing support to address declining literacy performance and ensure students graduate with the necessary skills to succeed in the college or career fields. As a result, school systems employ job-embedded professional learning opportunities in the form of literacy coaching, however; much debate exists around how to effectively utilize the coaching model to influence teacher self-efficacy and enhance student achievement. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of the Literacy Coaching model implementation phase and its impact on first through third-grade reading achievement growth. The researcher utilized a mixed-methods research design which included a Likert-scale teacher perception survey, literacy coach focus group interviews and student reading achievement growth data to compare teacher perceptions, literacy coach perceptions and student performance within two districts at different phases of literacy coaching implementation. Findings suggest that teachers have a high sense of autonomy as it relates to the delivery of effective literacy instruction. Literacy coaches were not found to be a significant influence on teacher sense of efficacy. Literacy coaches noted that professional learning activities such as modeling, focused classroom visits, learning labs, data analysis positively impacted effective literacy instruction. Finally, results indicated that literacy coaching implementation phase significantly influences reading achievement growth.
Keywords: literacy coaching, efficacy, professional learning, reading achievement growth
DEDICATION
This capstone is dedicated to my son, Darian Ja’Von O’Neil. You have traveled with me throughout my educational endeavors and I am forever grateful for your love and encouragement along the way. Continue to keep your focus, walk in God’s favor and hold onto your faith! You are indeed destined for greatness and I desire that my ceiling will become your floor. Remember, as you navigate through life, to continue to pursue the road less traveled because it will make all the difference.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
To God be the Glory, for He has done great things! The completion of this capstone would not have been possible without the discipline, desire and dedication granted to me by my Heavenly Father. Through continuous prayer, patience and perseverance, I have been able to walk into my destiny!
To my parents, Earnest and Rosa O’Neil, I thank you for your unconditional love and unwavering support. You instilled in me the value of education at an early age and you inspired me to keep pressing forward. Thanks for understanding the times I was not able to attend every family function and for understanding that my heart longed to be with you. Your continuous motivation provided me with the strength to overcome every obstacle during this challenging yet fulfilling season. I am forever grateful to you and I thank you for being the wind beneath my wings!
I owe a special note of gratefulness to my husband, Justin Christopher Brown, who served as my biggest champion. I am blessed to have found the one He kept for me. Thank you for understanding and accepting the late nights and weekends of endless writing and research and running alongside me during this arduous marathon. Your constant dedication and infinite sacrifices have meant more to me than you will ever know.

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I would like to convey my heartfelt gratitude towards my committee chairperson, Dr. Ed. Davis, for the solid foundation laid during my early coursework and the time and expertise provided throughout my capstone process. You planted seeds of encouragement and provided genuine mentorship and guidance to assist me with growing personally and professionally. I appreciate the valuable feedback and insight you offered to enhance my skills as a researcher. To my other committee members, Dr. Rick Watkins and Dr. John Lane, thanks for your valuable insight and feedback.

To my professional and personal mentor, Dr. Shanika Harrington-David, I would like to extend immense appreciation towards you for choosing to lift me as you continue to climb to higher heights. I am forever indebted to you for your constant encouragement, coaching and assurance that allowed me to trust the process. Your intelligence, passion and integrity as an educational leader is what I desire to emulate. You are a dynamic trailblazer and I am thankful that God has placed you in my life.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
TOC o “1-3” h z u Signature page PAGEREF _Toc515252954 h iiiTitle page PAGEREF _Toc515252955 h iiiCopyright page PAGEREF _Toc515252956 h iiiAcknowledgement PAGEREF _Toc515252957 h iiiDedication PAGEREF _Toc515252958 h iiiAbstract PAGEREF _Toc515252959 h iiiTable of contents PAGEREF _Toc515252960 h iiiList of figures PAGEREF _Toc515252961 h iiiChapter 1: Introduction PAGEREF _Toc515252962 h iiiStatement of the problem PAGEREF _Toc515252963 h iiiResearch questions PAGEREF _Toc515252964 h iiiPurpose and significance of study PAGEREF _Toc515252965 h iiiLocal context PAGEREF _Toc515252966 h iiiLimitations of study PAGEREF _Toc515252967 h iiiDefinition of relevant terms PAGEREF _Toc515252968 h iiiOrganization of study PAGEREF _Toc515252969 h ivChapter 2: Literature Review PAGEREF _Toc515252970 h ivIntroduction PAGEREF _Toc515252971 h ivTheoretical Framework PAGEREF _Toc515252972 h ivReview of Literature PAGEREF _Toc515252973 h ivSummary PAGEREF _Toc515252974 h ivChapter 3: Methodology PAGEREF _Toc515252975 h ivResearch Questions PAGEREF _Toc515252976 h ivResearch Design PAGEREF _Toc515252977 h ivSetting PAGEREF _Toc515252978 h ivAccess to site PAGEREF _Toc515252979 h ivValue of specific methodology PAGEREF _Toc515252980 h ivInstrumentation PAGEREF _Toc515252981 h ivData collection and procedures PAGEREF _Toc515252982 h ivSummary PAGEREF _Toc515252983 h ivChapter 4: Findings PAGEREF _Toc515252984 h ivData Overview PAGEREF _Toc515252985 h vData analysis PAGEREF _Toc515252986 h vTriangulation PAGEREF _Toc515252987 h vSummary PAGEREF _Toc515252988 h vChapter 5: Conclusion PAGEREF _Toc515252989 h vDiscussion of findings PAGEREF _Toc515252990 h vRelationship of findings to previous literature PAGEREF _Toc515252992 h vImplications PAGEREF _Toc515252993 h vRecommendations for future research PAGEREF _Toc515252994 h v
Reference list PAGEREF _Toc515252995 h vAppendices PAGEREF _Toc515252996 h v
LIST OF TABLES
CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
The current educational culture of increased emphasis on standards, assessments, and accountability has led to concerted efforts of educational stakeholders to ensure that improved student outcome is a primary focus. One of the fundamental building blocks of student success lies in the ability of students to read by the end of third grade (Dorsey, 2015). However, national literacy statistics create great alarm since nearly one-third of children nationwide lack rudimentary reading skills (Jacob, Elson, Bowden, Armstrong, ; Society for Research on Educational, 2015). Moreover, literacy acquisition remains a primary concern nationwide. Educational leaders must understand that it is vital for students to learn the necessary literacy skills during the early years to ensure they fall on a promising trajectory, which will allow them to use the required literacy skills to learn concepts across the curriculum.
. Due to the issue of a lack of proficiency in literacy skills, our nation entrusts school systems with the duty of fostering professional learning opportunities that enhance teaching quality and effectiveness. To optimally impact student achievement, school systems must provide educators with ongoing professional learning opportunities to improve their literacy content knowledge and instructional delivery (Blank, 2013). It is important to note that educational leaders have sought ways to improve reading achievement by focusing on instructional resources, programs, and teacher instructional practices. However, there has been a recent focus on the use of a coaching professional learning model to provide support for effective literacy reform within school systems (Gulamhussein, 2013). Forgarty and Pete (2007) suggest that coaching is the most powerfully authentic form of professional learning to help increase teacher capacity for effective literacy instruction. This approach to professional learning places a high emphasis on mentoring, cognitive coaching, and peer coaching (Toll, 2005). Furthermore, a vital component of this professional learning model is the literacy coach, whose primary responsibility is to support teachers by modeling effective instruction, providing specific feedback regarding lesson observations, and engaging in reflective collaboration to enhance instructional practices. Despite the potential advantages of utilizing literacy coaches as a catalyst for productive change, there is limited research to support the belief that literacy coaching leads to enhanced classroom instruction and student outcomes (Dole ; Donaldson, 2006).

According to the International Reading Association (2006), school systems recognize literacy coaching as an effective professional learning model. Toll (2005) suggests literacy coaching is a vital strategy for enhancing effective literacy instruction, literacy achievement, and teacher efficacy. School systems nationwide have implemented variations of the balanced literacy-coaching model to improve student achievement. As a result of the difference in the balanced literacy coaching model implementation stage, research suggests there may be minimal impact on effective literacy instruction (Saphier ; West, 2009). Therefore, it is evident that additional studies must occur to determine how to most efficiently implement the balanced literacy-coaching model to positively influence effective literacy instruction and student achievement.
Context/Background of the Study
In 2014, Act 284, Read to Succeed, was approved and signed into law by Governor Nikki Haley. The primary intention of the statute design was to increase the percentage of South Carolina students who can proficiently read and comprehend grade-level text. This statute is meaningful because research also indicates that when students’ literacy skills fall behind in the foundational years, they often fail to demonstrate reading proficiency in subsequent years. Without effective instruction and appropriate intervention in the early grades, these children become the students at-risk of not graduating high school ready for college and careers. Furthermore, research confirms that students reading below grade level at the end of third grade are six times more likely to not graduate from high school (Murnane, Sawhill, & Snow, 2012). To combat this dilemma in our schools, Section 59-155-180(C)(2)(3) of the Read to Succeed Act provides additional support to elementary schools by providing funds to employ literacy coaches.
According to a study completed by the Research Making Change Research Corporation (2017), the comprehensive system of support offered through the Read to Succeed Legislation include the following components:
ongoing support from the Read to Succeed Office to provide professional learning opportunities for teachers and literacy coaches in effective literacy instruction;
early identification of students’ literacy and language development through the administration of a readiness assessment;
multiple interventions for students who are not reading on grade level or retained students;
development of an annual comprehensive reading proficiency reading plan for Pre-K through eighth grade; and
various course offerings to assist educators with obtaining Read to Succeed Endorsement.

Due to the short existence of the Read to Succeed legislation, it is too early to determine its impact on student reading achievement. However, states such as Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and North Carolina have passed similar reading policies and have seen a marked improvement in reading achievement based on the 2015 National Assessment of Education Progress Assessment (South carolina read to succeed: An inside look, 2017).

Two rural school districts in the Pee Dee Region of South Carolina served as the setting for the research study. District A serves approximately 4,075 students, pre-K through twelfth grade, within eight schools, while District B serves approximately 7,275 students, pre-K through twelfth grade, within sixteen schools. District A uses state appropriated funds to employ full-time literacy coaches who provide professional learning opportunities and instructional support in five elementary schools. However, the other three schools do not qualify for the state appropriated funds and currently do not have a literacy coach due to lack of funding. District B has a focused effort on literacy instruction K-12. All K-eighth grade schools employ a full-time literacy coach who provides professional learning opportunities and instructional support. Schools vertically collaborate to discuss student needs to ensure a smooth transition between grade levels and schools. Both school districts are required to follow the Read to Succeed legislation, enacted in 2014 to ensure all students are reading at or above grade level by the end of their third-grade year.
While each school district in South Carolina is required to implement all components of the Read to Succeed Act, it is evident that districts are at various levels of implementation. The findings of a study from the International Reading Association (2005), illustrate the inconsistencies in literacy coaches’ roles and responsibilities. In addition, results show that literacy coaching may range from low-risk activities, such as informal collegial conversations, to more high-risk activities, such as formal professional learning sessions. (International Reading Association, 2005). The researcher utilized information from The Coaching Activities Levels of Intensity Continuum (Bean, 2004) to engage in a discussion with the literacy coordinator and literacy coaches in each district regarding their specific phase of literacy coaching implementation. The figure below illustrates the various levels of literacy coaching activities.

Figure 1.1

According to the International Literacy Association (2015), roles among each phase overlap yet grow in intensity and scope as it relates to responsibilities and expectations. Information from conversations indicated both school districts were beyond the Level one implementation phase, considered the least formal in the sense that it is the stage of building relationships. During this level, the literacy coach engages in conversations with teachers to set goals and devise solutions. In addition, Level one implementation involves the literacy coach developing and providing materials with colleagues. Although, literacy coaches may facilitate study groups or coaching sessions, these activities are not structured (International Literacy Association, 2015).

A discussion with the literacy coordinator and literacy coaches indicated that District A falls within the Level two implementation phase. A school in Level two uses a school level reading curriculum and professional learning with a focus on analyzing instructional practice. According to research from the International Literacy Association (2015), the literacy-coaching model in Level two involves literacy coaches engaging in conversations with individual teachers around data analysis and participating in co-planning activities with teachers. In addition, literacy coaches revisit norms for collaboration as they facilitate team meetings to analyze student work and assessment results to assist teachers with instructional decision-making.
After discussions with the literacy coordinator and literacy coaches within District B, it was found that the district is in the Level three phase of implementation. Level three schools utilize a district-wide reading curriculum and professional learning with a focus on using a workshop model of instruction to change instructional practices. According to research from the International Literacy Association (2015), the literacy-coaching model in Level 3 is more formal and more intense in that literacy coaches have conversations with individual teachers focused on co-planning, co-teaching and teaching dilemmas. In addition, the literacy coach conducts classroom observations, provides specific feedback and provides individualized support to teachers based on teacher performance evaluations. Furthermore, schools in this particular phase are strategically involved in concerted efforts to improve literacy programs through school-community partnership work (International Literacy Association, 2015).

Statement of Problem
Although it is clear that effective literacy instruction leads to improved student outcomes, there is still much debate on the most effective professional learning opportunities to support literacy instruction and the extent of the impact that these professional learning opportunities have upon student achievement. School systems provide educators with ongoing professional learning opportunities and students’ progress is monitored using formative and summative assessments, but school systems must consider whether educational leaders utilize results to make data-informed decisions to strengthen the effectiveness of the professional learning opportunities and increase student outcomes.

According to Gulamhessein (2013), it is not the number of professional learning opportunities that are important, but instead, it is the quality of professional learning opportunities that influence effective instruction and increase student outcomes. There is a definite divide when examining current research on the effectiveness of literacy coaching. Although several research studies have demonstrated that literacy coaches assist in enhancing teaching quality (Stephens et al., 2011; Vanderburg ; Stephens, 2010) there is also research which suggests there is minimal evidence that the literacy coaching model impacts instructional practices or enhances student learning outcomes (Brown, Stoh, Fouts, ; Baker, 2005). Due to the rapid expansion of the literacy-coaching model, there is a sense of urgency for policymakers and practitioners to make decisions about whether to utilize literacy coaches with little data regarding the effective components of the literacy-coaching model and whether or not it has an impact on student outcomes. Moreover, researchers must conduct additional studies regarding these issues prior to making links between literacy coaching and differences in student achievement (Deussen, Coskie, Robinson, Autio, ; Institute of Education Sciences, 2007).

Purpose
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of the Literacy Coaching model implementation phase and its impact on first through third-grade reading growth achievement. The objectives of the study are listed below.
Examine first through third-grade teachers’ perceptions of their sense of efficacy for literacy instruction
Examine literacy coaches’ perceptions of their delivery of effective professional learning opportunities
Examine the significance of the Literacy Coaching Model implementation phase on student achievement.

Research Question
To develop an understanding of the effectiveness of the Literacy Coaching Model implementation phase, the following research questions served as the basis for data analysis and summary of results:
What are first through third-grade teachers’ perceptions of literacy coaches’ ability to influence their sense of efficacy for delivery of effective literacy instruction?
What are the specific professional learning opportunities that literacy coaches perceive as positively impacting the delivery of effective literacy instruction?
What is the impact of the Literacy Coaching Model implementation phase on first through third-grade reading achievement growth?
Limitations
This research was limited to first through third-grade teachers and literacy coaches in two rural districts within the Pee Dee Region of South Carolina. Therefore, individuals may not generalize study findings to other populations and settings.

The administration of the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment did not occur in the same manner at all schools. During SY 2017-2018, eleven schools administered MAP in the fall, winter, and spring, while three schools administered the assessment in only the winter and spring.

When examining historical data, three schools did not administer the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment to first grade students during SY 2012-2013.

The researcher utilized self-reported data in the form of focus group interviews and surveys to collect data. This type of data is limited in that it may not be individually verified and may contain potential sources of bias.

The Balanced Literacy Framework encompasses both reading and writing instruction. For the purpose of this study, the researcher analyzed assessments based only upon reading achievement growth.

Definition of Key Terms
Balanced Literacy Instruction: This particular framework of literacy instruction combines reading and writing instruction to promote students’ reading and writing skills (Frey, Lee, Tollefson, Pass, & Massengill (2005).

The following are ten components of balanced literacy discussed by Frey et. al (2005).

Mini-lesson- The teacher delivers brief instruction to the whole group based on a specific skill or strategy.

Read-aloud-The teacher selects a text, based upon the mini-lesson, to model specific reading strategies or skills.

Interactive and Shared Reading-This is a time of collaboration where the teacher models appropriate reading strategies and the student practices modeled strategies in a whole group setting.

Independent reading- Students select text of interest or by reading level to read independently or with a partner in order to apply strategies or skills modeled by the teacher.

Guided reading-The teacher creates differentiated reading groups to target a specific reading behavior or skill to meet the needs of individual students.

Writing mini-lesson-The teacher delivers a brief lesson focused on a skill or strategy students may apply to their writing.

Interactive and shared writing-This is a time of collaboration where the teacher models effective writing strategies and students practice modeled strategies in a group setting.

Guided writing-The teacher creates differentiated groups to target a specific writing skill to meet the needs of individual students.

Independent writing- Students write independently to apply the writing strategies or skills modeled by the teacher.
Literacy: The individual’s ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, analyze, and communicate using visual, audible, and digital materials across disciplines and in any given context (International Literacy Association, 2015).

Literacy Coach: For the purpose of this study, the researcher defines a literacy coach as an individual whose primary goal is to support teachers with the delivery of effective instruction and improvement in literacy achievement (Cornett ; Knight, 2009).
Measures of academic progress (MAP): MAP are assessments used by the Northwest Educational Association to assess academic progress, based on Common Core State Standards (NWEA, 2011).

Professional Learning Opportunities: Professional learning opportunities, as opposed to the term professional development, is defined as collaborative structures that allow educators to engage in ongoing experiences to become self-directed, life-long learners (Easton, 2008).

Rasch Unit (RIT) Score: RIT stands for Rasch Unit, which is a measurement scale developed to simplify the interpretation of test scores. The RIT score relates directly to the curriculum scale in each subject area. It is an equal-interval scale that ranges from about 100 to 300 (NWEA, 2011).

Organization of Study
This study is composed of five chapters. Chapter one introduces the issue, study context, statement of the problem, research questions, significance of the study, definition of terms, and study limitations. Chapter Two offers a comprehensive review of the literature and current research regarding characteristics of effective literacy instruction, the importance of literacy coaching to teacher self-efficacy, teacher perception of literacy coaching and the impact of literacy coaching on student achievement. Chapter Three describes the research methodology of the study including general purpose, target population, research design, instrumentation, data collection, and data analysis. Chapter Four contains the study findings including interpretations of data analyses. Chapter Five summarizes the study and the findings as well as provides a conclusion, implications, and recommendations for practice and future research.

Summary
The literacy-coaching model is based on the belief that effective literacy instruction can occur by strengthening the capacity of the teacher (Toll, 2005). Despite its effectiveness in improving teaching quality, there is a disparity among schools in how to most effectively implement the literacy-coaching model. To ensure that school systems implement the literacy-coaching model with fidelity, a deeper understanding of the current implementation status is necessary so that school systems may advance to the next level. Maximizing the potential impact of the literacy-coaching model in enhancing student reading achievement growth requires an examination of the current phase of implementation and considerations for improvement. Moreover, this research study provides insight into the status of the literacy-coaching model in two rural school districts within the South Carolina Pee Dee region and its impact on first through third-grade reading achievement growth. In addition, this study provides relevant research for educational leaders to make data-informed decisions regarding how to best implement the literacy-coaching model within their school systems. This study provides specific recommendations for districts on continued effective implementation of the literacy-coaching model.

CHAPTER TWO
LITERATURE REVIEW
This literature review begins with a description of the Theoretical Framework that underpins the research behind the literacy-coaching model. The three theories that support this research are Vygotsky’s Constructivist Theory, Bruner’s Scaffolding Theory and Garmston’s Theory of Cognitive Coaching. The literature reviewed for this study focuses on teacher efficacy to provide context for how the literacy-coaching model may influence classroom instruction. In addition, the researcher examines effective literacy instruction to demonstrate how the literacy-coaching model affects the level of instruction delivered. Lastly, the researcher explores the literacy-coaching model to illustrate the gap in research as it relates to its impact on student achievement.

Theoretical Framework
The constructivist theory is an educational perspective that demonstrates how discovery constructs knowledge (Vygotsky & Cole, 1978). According to Vygotsky (1978), personal experiences and social interaction lead to enhanced student outcomes and contributes to overall cognitive development. Specific components that are important to enhanced cognitive development are teacher-student interaction, modeling, and explaining (Powell & Kalina, 2009). One primary focus of the constructivist theory is the importance of active student engagement. This student-centered approach supports the belief that students should become leaders of their learning. Ultimately, the teacher serves as a facilitator whose focus is to guide students in how to construct meaning from their educational experiences (Vygotsky & Cole, 1978).

Constructivism and Effective Literacy Instruction
The balanced literacy framework encompasses Vygotsky’s (1978) constructivist theory in that it is a program designed to provide differentiated learning experiences that target individual student needs through whole group, small group, and independent activities (International Reading Association, 2002). An increased number of classrooms are infusing social and cognitive constructivist practices within the curriculum and fostering a student-centered approach in which students utilize concepts to engage in meaningful problem-solving activities (Khoja, Sana, Karim, ; Rehman, 2009). Through the implementation of the balanced literacy framework, educators provide students the tools to not only survive but to thrive in an ever-changing global society (Kalpana, 2014). Balanced literacy acknowledges the social aspects of literacy and infuses opportunities for conversations and interactions with peers and adults (O’Day, 2009).
The idea of the zone of proximal development, grounded in Vygotsky’s view on learning (Shaw ; Hurst, 2012), occurs during the natural learning process which begins at birth and continues throughout life (Vygotsky, 1978). During the learning process, students formulate several bridges from the unknown to the known. It is through these bridges that Vygotsky (1978) suggests learning occurs and Vygotsky (1978) believes this process is more critical than the final outcome.
Similar to Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development, Bruner’s scaffolding theory explains the process of implementing interventions to assist an individual in completing a task that is beyond their ability. The complexity of the task remains at the same level; however, it is through the scaffolding process that the task can be accomplished independently (Bruner, 1960). Vygotsky, who references scaffolding as modeling and explaining, suggests that scaffolding allows the learner to complete a complex task with support from a teacher or peer (Powell ; Kalina, 2009). The social interactions that occur during the zone of proximal development and scaffolding support the balanced literacy framework (International Reading Association, 2002). When teachers explicitly present concepts so that students can connect ideas, constructivist instruction can positively impact student achievement (Powell ; Kalina, 2009). Meeting the needs of students within their zone of proximal development, scaffolding instruction and fostering communication are essential aspects of social constructivism and an integral component of balanced literacy (Powell ; Kalina, 2009).

Constructivism and Professional Learning Opportunities
When applying the constructivist theory to the aspects of the balanced literacy professional learning model, the work of the literacy coach revolves around social interactions among members of the school community, particularly with classroom teachers (Garmston et al., 1993). Vygotsky’s (1978) theory also involves the value of the More Knowledgeable Other, which is a concept that refers to an individual that has a more profound depth of knowledge than the learner does as it relates to a particular task. Within the balanced literacy professional learning model, the literacy coach serves as the More Knowledgeable Other by assisting teachers in developing an enhanced understanding of effective instructional strategies that allow them to operate in the zone of proximal development (Dugan, 2010).

In addition, Garmston’s (1993) Theory of Cognitive Coaching focuses on factors, such as consulting, mentoring, and peer assistance that occur throughout the balanced literacy professional learning model. When implemented appropriately teachers should have ample opportunities to acquire support from a literacy coach and work collaboratively with colleagues to enhance instruction. A primary responsibility of the coach is to assist teachers in becoming reflective practitioners. To move teachers towards building capacity as reflective practitioners, school systems must utilize a strategic approach to providing specific feedback as a catalyst throughout professional learning (Danielson, 2007).
Researchers align the balanced literacy professional learning model to the concept of Strength-Based School Improvement and when educational leaders implement Strength-Based School Improvement effectively, the teacher is at the center of a relationship triangulation where there are three clear sets of connections:
the teacher’s strong relationships with colleagues,
the teacher’s strong relationship with the literacy coach, and
the teacher’s strong relationship with the school administrator.
Within this framework of ongoing cooperation and collaboration, meaningful, positive change occurs which maximizes opportunities for improved student outcomes (Hall & Simeral, 2008).

Balanced Literacy Framework Overview
The origins of balanced literacy stem from the state of California’s attempt, after the receipt of low national reading scores, to implement a new curriculum. In its earlier stages of development, balanced literacy had a focus on skills-based teaching and direct instruction during independent reading blocks (Education, 1996). The balanced literacy framework also focuses on strategic and intentional phonics instruction and literature-based opportunities (Frey et al., 2005). One primary goal of the balanced literacy framework is to create a self-directed and motivated reader (Stein ; D’Amico, 2002). To foster a student-centered learning environment, teachers must provide differentiated instruction in multiple settings (Frey et al., 2005). Unlike other literacy programs, balanced literacy does not offer scripted lessons; instead, teachers must engage in creative lesson design, use data to make informed instructional decisions, and actively reflect upon each lesson (Stein & D’Amico, 2002).
Research suggests that the multi-faceted process within the balanced literacy framework enhances its effectiveness. The positive impact balanced literacy has on student reading achievement is due to the teacher’s systematic blend of a combination of various literacy activities (Zygouris-Coe, 2001). Due to the increased focus on improving student reading achievement, school system leaders throughout the United States are implementing a balanced literacy framework allowing students to become productive citizens in an ever-changing global society (Kalpana, 2014). Although research suggests that the widely used balanced literacy framework builds student reading comprehension, there is a lack of teacher knowledge about the ability to foster language and literacy development (Spear-Swerling & Zibulsky, 2013). Additionally, research reveals that teachers’ perspectives and belief systems may have a direct influence upon students’ reading achievement (Vanderburg & Stephens, 2010); however, an extraordinary challenge for teachers with striving readers is the limited opportunities for professional learning to provide explicit instruction and appropriate interventions (Spear-Swerling & Zibulsky, 2013). It is important to note that effective literacy instruction leads to improved student outcomes (Bitter, O’Day, Gubbins, ; Socais, 2009) but growing fluent readers is a complex task and educators must acquire the necessary skill set to deliver impactful and strategic literacy instruction (Menzies, Mahdavi, ; Lewis, 2008). Consequently, a vital step in enhancing students’ reading achievement is the use of literacy coaches to increase opportunities for collegial collaboration and the ability to examine student assessment data (Denton, Swanson, & Mathes, 2007).

Development of Self-Efficacy Beliefs
According to ADDIN EN.CITE <EndNote><Cite><Author>Bandura</Author><Year>1977</Year><IDText>Self-efficacy: toward a unifying theory of behavioral change</IDText><DisplayText>(Bandura, 1977)</DisplayText><record><titles><title>Self-efficacy: toward a unifying theory of behavioral change</title><secondary-title>Psychological Review</secondary-title></titles><pages>191-215</pages><contributors><authors><author>Bandura, A</author></authors></contributors><added-date format=”utc”>1524406679</added-date><ref-type name=”Journal Article”>17</ref-type><dates><year>1977</year></dates><rec-number>79</rec-number><last-updated-date format=”utc”>1524407013</last-updated-date><volume>84</volume></record></Cite></EndNote>Bandura (1977), self-efficacy is an individual’s assessment of his/her capability to attain the desired level of performance in a particular endeavor. Bandura asserted that self-efficacy impacts an individual’s motivation for persistence and resilience. Four major influences on self-efficacy beliefs include:
vicarious experiences,
verbal persuasion,
physiological arousal, and
mastery experiences.
Vicarious experiences involve activities, such as teaching literacy, modeled by someone else. Verbal persuasion includes the oral feedback a teacher receives regarding performance and prospects for success. Physiological arousal deals with a sense of capability or incompetence based upon whether experiences create feelings of anxiety or excitement. As it relates to literacy teachers, mastery experiences are the most powerful and relevant information because they allow teachers to increase self-efficacy as well as improve student achievement as a result of direct instruction ADDIN EN.CITE <EndNote><Cite><Author>Bandura</Author><Year>1997</Year><IDText>Self Efficacy: The exercise of control</IDText><DisplayText>(Bandura, 1997)</DisplayText><record><titles><title>Self Efficacy: The exercise of control</title></titles><contributors><authors><author>Bandura, A</author></authors></contributors><added-date format=”utc”>1524407490</added-date><pub-location>New York</pub-location><ref-type name=”Book”>6</ref-type><dates><year>1997</year></dates><rec-number>80</rec-number><publisher>W.H. Freeman &amp; Co</publisher><last-updated-date format=”utc”>1524408187</last-updated-date></record></Cite></EndNote>(Bandura, 1997).
Various research studies have been conducted to investigate the impact of significant influences on self -efficacy. For example, prospective teachers in a study from Hong Kong were found to be influenced by the quality of supervisory feedback, verbal persuasion, and field experiences during student teaching, mastery experiences ADDIN EN.CITE <EndNote><Cite><Author>Yeung</Author><Year>2000</Year><IDText>Hong Kong student teachers&apos; personal construction of teaching efficacy</IDText><DisplayText>(Yeung, 2000)</DisplayText><record><titles><title>Hong Kong student teachers&apos; personal construction of teaching efficacy</title><secondary-title>Educational Psychology</secondary-title></titles><pages>213-235</pages><number>2</number><contributors><authors><author>Yeung, K. W.</author></authors></contributors><added-date format=”utc”>1524408448</added-date><ref-type name=”Journal Article”>17</ref-type><dates><year>2000</year></dates><rec-number>81</rec-number><last-updated-date format=”utc”>1524408746</last-updated-date><volume>20</volume></record></Cite></EndNote>(Yeung, 2000). Also, a study that occurred in the United States found that demonstration lessons by master teachers, vicarious experiences, positively influenced pre-service teachers’ self-efficacy for literacy instruction ADDIN EN.CITE ;EndNote;;Cite;;Author;Johnson;/Author;;Year;2010;/Year;;IDText;Learning to teach: the influence of a university-school partnership project on pre-service elementary teachers efficacy for literacy instruction;/IDText;;DisplayText;(Johnson, 2010);/DisplayText;;record;;titles;;title;Learning to teach: the influence of a university-school partnership project on pre-service elementary teachers efficacy for literacy instruction;/title;;secondary-title;Reading Horizons;/secondary-title;;/titles;;pages;23-48;/pages;;number;1;/number;;contributors;;authors;;author;Johnson, D;/author;;/authors;;/contributors;;added-date format=”utc”;1524409806;/added-date;;ref-type name=”Journal Article”;17;/ref-type;;dates;;year;2010;/year;;/dates;;rec-number;82;/rec-number;;last-updated-date format=”utc”;1524410066;/last-updated-date;;volume;50;/volume;;/record;;/Cite;;/EndNote;(Johnson, 2010). In a study by Tschannen-Moran and McMaster (2009), the researchers utilized a quasi-experimental study design that examined teacher perceptions regarding their self-efficacy in implementing a researched-based teaching strategy for reading after different types of professional learning opportunities. Participants received one of four types of professional learning opportunities and completed a pre- and post-survey regarding their perceived self- efficacy in the successful implementation of an instructional strategy for striving readers.
As stated in research conducted by Bandura (1997), the study found that the most powerful professional learning included an authentic mastery experience measured through teachers’ perceived self-efficacy.

The findings of these studies are significant because they show the power of perceived self-efficacy. When teachers believed that they were competent and supported, they recognized that reform and continuous improvement were possible. According to Tschannen-Moran and McMaster (2009), the literacy coach was the deciding factor between teachers who perceived they were capable of meaningful change and continuous improvement and teachers who felt like they were not. Overall, research suggest increased self-efficacy leads to enhanced persistence and resilience over time ADDIN EN.CITE <EndNote><Cite><Author>Tschannen-Moran</Author><Year>1998</Year><IDText>Teacher efficacy: its meaning and measure</IDText><DisplayText>(Tschannen-Moran, Woolfolk, &amp; Hoy, 1998)</DisplayText><record><titles><title>Teacher efficacy: its meaning and measure</title><secondary-title>Review of Educational Research</secondary-title></titles><pages>202-248</pages><contributors><authors><author>Tschannen-Moran, M.</author><author>Woolfolk, Hoy, A.</author><author>Hoy, W.K.</author></authors></contributors><added-date format=”utc”>1524411244</added-date><ref-type name=”Journal Article”>17</ref-type><dates><year>1998</year></dates><rec-number>83</rec-number><last-updated-date format=”utc”>1524411480</last-updated-date><volume>68</volume></record></Cite></EndNote>(Tschannen-Moran, Woolfolk, & Hoy, 1998).

Teacher Perception and Self-Efficacy
In addition, researchers have examined teacher perception of the literacy coach’s impact on effective literacy instruction. Vanderburg and Stephens (2010) conducted a study in which they analyzed interviews from 35 teachers who participated for three years in a statewide professional learning opportunity known as the South Carolina Reading Initiative. Researchers utilized data gleaned from the teacher interviews to better understand specific ways in which teachers deemed literacy coaches helpful and to describe the particular changes to instructional practices attributed to their coaches (Vanderburg ; Stephens, 2010). The study found that literacy coaches were helpful in their ability to provide ongoing support, model research-based practices, and create opportunities for collegial collaboration. Overall, teachers felt a renewed sense of self-efficacy as they became empowered to take risks and implement new instructional practices (Vanderburg ; Stephens, 2010).

Furthermore, research has been conducted on the effectiveness of the literacy coach facilitated professional learning model and its impact on teacher efficacy and instructional practices (Stephens et al., 2011). To understand better the extent of the effect that this type of professional learning had upon educators, researchers utilized three surveys, including the:
Theoretical Orientation to Reading Profile,
South Carolina Department of Education Survey, and
South Carolina Reading Profile.
In addition, researchers conducted case studies on 39 teachers throughout South Carolina to gain a deeper understanding of the change process experienced by teachers because of literacy coaching. Stephens et al. (2011) found that because of the literacy coaching professional learning opportunities and their positive perception of the coaching model, 33 out of 39 teachers became more consistent in implementing literacy instruction best practices.
Shidler (2009) sought to determine if the level of coaching a teacher received impacted teacher efficacy and student outcomes. The three-year study featured a different level of coaching to help researchers with developing a determination. The initial year provided teachers with 40 hours of a coaching model focused on moving from theory to practice as it relates to specific literacy content and instructional practices. During the second and third years coaching time was increased; however, a less specific coaching model was utilized (Shidler, 2009). The study participants included 12 teachers and 360 students within Head Start classes in Central Florida. The researcher used two measures of student achievement, the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-III and Alphabet Letter Recognition assessments, throughout the study. Year one data analysis results revealed a significant correlation between alphabet letter recognition skills and hours and level of coaching received. The data analysis results from year one also indicated no relationship between Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-III and the specific coaching model. The researcher found no significant correlations among any variables during years two and three of the study. Overall, the study found that the level and quality of coaching is an essential factor because the specific model of moving from theory to practice utilized in year one was the only approach that improved student achievement. In addition, results suggest that too much coaching time minimizes teacher efficacy and increases reliance on the coach (Shidler, 2009)
Effective Literacy Instruction
In a study that describes literacy instruction in 101 San Diego Elementary schools, researchers found that effective literacy instruction is the foundation for improved student achievement (Bitter et al., 2009). Through an examination of classrooms that implemented the balanced literacy framework, researchers determined which instructional practices were effective in improving student reading achievement. In addition, researchers collected data using a classroom observation instrument and teacher perception interviews. Bitter et al. (2009) found a common focus on reading comprehension instruction and on students actively engaging in deriving meaning from the text using high-level questioning and meaningful discussion. In addition, researchers determined that students who engaged in more significant amounts of writing instruction enhanced their reading comprehension more than students who engaged in less writing. Overall, the researchers concluded that a balanced literacy approach that fosters student ownership, interactive learning, and academically focused discussion had a significant influence on student reading achievement (Bitter et al., 2009).
Additional research supports the use of balanced literacy as opposed to other approaches. In a study that observed six exemplary teachers from three different school districts in New Jersey, researchers capture multiple dimensions of effective literacy instruction versus a single dimension (Morrow, Tracey, Woo, ; Pressley, 1999). Researchers spent approximately 25 hours in classrooms observing and collecting data regarding literacy instruction. Furthermore, researchers conducted teacher interviews to gain individual philosophies and beliefs about instructional practices (Morrow et al., 1999). The study found the observed classrooms were literacy-rich environments that allowed for whole group, small group, paired, and one-to-one instruction (Morrow et al., 1999). Students also experienced literacy in multiple forms, such as shared reading and writing activities (Morrow et al., 1999). Consequently, researchers found that instruction focused on one dimension of literacy instruction was not effective when teaching literacy. Instead, the use of explicit skill development taught in the context of authentic literature found in a balanced literacy approach was proven successful (Morrow et al., 1999).

Self-Efficacy and Effective Literacy Instruction
One of the immense challenges faced by educators today involves the effective delivery of instruction to students with a vast range of reading abilities (Baumann, Hoffman, Duffy-Hester, ; Moon, 2000). Consequently, effective literacy instruction requires educators to make complicated and immediate instructional decisions to meet the needs of their diverse student population (Pinnell, 2002). According to Allinder (1994), an individual teacher’s perceived self-efficacy for the required content knowledge and skill set maximizes his/her ability to deliver effective literacy instruction in any given situation. Therefore, a teacher with a high sense of self-efficacy would be more apt to utilize various instructional strategies until students achieve success (Allinder, 1994), while a teacher with low self-efficacy is more likely to place blame on students for their inability to achieve success (Soodak &Podell, 1993). Furthermore, in a study conducted by Gregoire (2003), the researcher proposes a model that analyzes the process through which teachers’ self-efficacy impacts their response to instructional reform. This model asserts that the degree of a teacher’s conceptual change as it relates to instructional reform lies in the teacher’s perception of the reform as either a threat or a challenge. When faced with changes, teachers first determine whether they are directly involved in the proposed instructional reform. If teachers feel that they are already implementing the proposed reform, they will be less likely to accept any implications. Such teachers will not process the new content at a deeper level. However, teachers who feel involved in the proposed instructional reform will feel an uncomfortable level of stress. According to the model created by Gregoire (2003), teachers with low self-efficacy will perceive instructional reform as a threat, leading to task avoidance and superficial belief change. Conversely, teachers with high self-efficacy who feel supported with adequate resources and time perceive instructional reform as a challenge and they will put forth more effort to process new content with a deeper understanding (Gregoire, 2003).

Literacy Coaching Model
Poglinco et al. (2000), suggests that an integral component of enhancing literacy rates is to increase teachers’ knowledge of reading. In addition, literacy coaching has become a popular model of ongoing professional learning geared towards assisting educators in gaining knowledge and implementing effective instructional strategies (Poglinco et al., 2000). A consistent theme in research related to the literacy-coaching model is the description of literacy coaching as on-site, job-embedded professional learning that allows educators opportunities to transfer necessary skills and strategies into classroom practices. Despite this standard definition, literacy coaching has taken on various forms in school systems across the nation (Poglinco et al., 2000)
Vogt and Shearer (2007) describe the literacy coaches’ primary roles and responsibilities as ongoing support for educators in developing and meeting individual and school goals. The effective coach asks probing questions, provides resources, conducts classroom observations, and demonstrates effective instructional strategies (Vogt ; Shearer, 2007). Walpole and McKenna (2004) view literacy coaching from a different perspective in that the literacy coach serves a catalyst for change. The primary role of the literacy coach is to function as the site-based agent for school reform by evaluating and selecting effective instructional resources aligned with student needs, collaborating with teachers to analyze data, and reflect on how instructional practices influences that data. In contrast to Vogt and Shearer (2007), Walpole and Mckenna (2004) emphasize the role of the literacy coach as one who engages educators in opportunities to enhance knowledge and skills that positively impact student achievement.
Data gathered at the Consortium for Policy Research in Education by Poglinco et al. (2003) indicate that specific characteristics and factors influence the impact of the literacy-coaching model. These characteristics include:
superior interpersonal and communication skills,
outstanding teaching ability,
innovative curriculum design tailored to meet student needs, and
the skillful ability to overcome teacher resistance
The International Reading Association (2004) expands on the ideas of Poglinco et al. (2003) through its position statement, which suggests that a literacy coach also have comprehensive knowledge of reading acquisition strategies and various assessment practices. In addition, an effective literacy coaching model is comprised of ongoing classroom observations and specific and timely feedback to improve instruction (International Reading Association, 2004). Vogt and Shearer (2007) describe the components of an effective coaching relationship as one in which the coach is an active listener and the atmosphere is both supportive and non-threatening. When the literacy coach serves as an active listener, the educator can freely express his perspective of the coaching process and is more likely to engage in risk-taking in his teaching practices (Vogt ; Shearer, 2007).

Literacy Coaching Model and its Impact on Effective Literacy Instruction
Several studies have examined how literacy coaching has influenced teacher instructional practices by comparing the differences between professional learning with and without coaching. One particular study conducted by Neuman and Cunningham (2009) determined the impact of professional learning and coaching on early childhood teacher’s content knowledge and language and literacy instructional practices. The researcher randomly assigned study participants, which included 304 childcare providers from four urban cities to three groups:
86 participants only participated in coursework at the local community college.
85 participants 32 weeks of coursework and related coaching.
133 participants assigned to the control group.

Researchers created the Teacher Knowledge Assessment of Early Language and Literacy Development to measure teacher content knowledge. In addition, researchers measured the quality of instructional practices using the Early Language and Literacy Classroom Observation and Child/Home Early Language and Literacy Observation tools. Researchers utilized a two-way ANOVA to analyze the results and the study found no significant difference between the groups on the teacher content knowledge assessment. Conversely, the study found a significant relationship between professional learning combined with coaching to an improvement of teacher instructional practices (Neuman & Cunningham, 2009).

In order to build upon the previous study, Neuman and Wright (2010) utilized a mixed-methods design to examine independently the impact of two types of professional learning, coaching and coursework, on teacher content knowledge and literacy instruction and to determine if coaching is an effective independent professional learning strategy. For this study, researchers randomly assigned one hundred and forty-eight teachers from six urban cities to:
Group One, which consisted of coursework;
Group Two, which included on-site coaching; or
Group Three, which researchers considered the control group.
The researchers created an online coaching log to collect information on how coaches were using their time during each coaching session. Researchers provided teachers two forms of the Teacher Knowledge Assessment of Early Language and Literacy Assessment to gather pre-and post-test data to determine growth in early language and literacy. Researchers also utilized The Early Language and Literacy Classroom Observation tool to measure the effectiveness of instructional practices and classroom environments. Furthermore, researchers randomly selected fifty-four teachers from the coursework and coaching groups to participate in open-ended interviews designed to assess the influence coaching or coursework had upon instructional practices (Neuman & Wright, 2010).

Researchers analyzed quantitative data using ANOVA and typological analysis for the qualitative data. The study found no significant difference in teachers’ scores on the teacher knowledge assessment. The Early Language and Literacy results indicated that the coaching group had significantly higher scores on the overall literacy structural environment; however, there was no significant difference in scores related to psychological supports or instructional practices. Data from the open-ended interviews suggest that participants had a favorable perception of the coursework but struggled with the transfer of knowledge into practical classroom use. Participants in the coaching group also had favorable opinions of the coaching model; specifically, the convenience of onsite support and the accountability provided during the coaching cycle. Results from the coaching logs indicate that coaches spent the majority of time focused on improving the learning environment and less time on demonstrating effective literacy instruction. Researchers concluded that they must conduct additional studies to determine whether the level of dosage and duration of the coaching model impact teacher practices (Neuman ; Wright, 2010).

Quick, Holtzman, and Chaney (2009) also utilized a mixed methods study design to investigate the relationship between the professional learning opportunities that elementary teachers participated in and the impact on effective literacy instruction. Study results demonstrated teachers who reported that they had engaged in literacy coaching displayed a significantly more substantial amount of instruction focused on the higher-level meaning of a text. The specific literacy coaching activities found to have a significant impact on literacy instruction were demonstration lessons modeled by the literacy coach, opportunities to practice instructional strategies while the literacy coach observed and acquiring specific, immediate feedback from the coach following an observation (Quick et al., 2009).

Literacy Coaching Model and Student Achievement
When examining the impact of the literacy-coaching model on student reading achievement, it is essential to consider the use of student assessment data (Denton et al., 2007). In a study conducted by Denton et al. (2007), 337 students participated in either a treatment group research-based intervention model or a control group typical classroom literacy instruction model. Additional study participants included thirty-four teachers who engaged in the Student-Focused Coaching model, which incorporates collaborative consultation with a focus on the use of student assessment and observation data to make data-informed decisions. Researchers found that students of teachers who participated in the literacy-coaching model performed better on measures of phonological awareness, timed and untimed word reading, phonemic coding, passage comprehension, and spelling (Denton et al., 2007).
Researchers conducted additional studies to examine the link between professional learning opportunities and student achievement (Joyce ; Showers, 2002). According to Joyce and Showers (2002), there were three primary purposes for professional learning:
provide knowledge,
strengthen skills, and
assist teachers with the transference of knowledge and skills into classroom instruction.
Researchers analyzed the effect size of multiple studies to determine the components impact according to the purpose (Joyce ; Showers, 2002). Joyce and Showers (2002) concluded that four components were necessary prior to teachers consistently implementing best practices for effective transfer. These components included:
theory presentation,
skill modeling or demonstration,
ongoing practice, and
peer coaching.

Carlisle and Berebitsky (2011) examined professional learning, with and without literacy coaching, on first-grade teachers’ attitudes, instructional practices, and student achievement. The study included fifty-four first grade teachers in Michigan within Reading First Schools. Thirty-four participants received professional learning and coaching; while, 20 participants received only professional learning. All participants received 27 hours of professional learning on literacy instruction. The treatment group received on-site coaching, instructional resources, and demonstration lessons throughout the study. Teachers participated in classroom observations, completed a perception survey, and administered the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Literacy Skills to students (Carlisle & Berebitsky, 2011).

Results of the study demonstrated that there was no difference in participants’ perspectives of professional learning, administrative support and opportunities to collaborate with colleagues. However, teachers who received professional learning and coaching spent more time engaged in small group instruction than teachers who did not receive coaching. In addition, students in the classrooms of teachers who received coaching demonstrated more significant gains on the DIBELS Nonsense Word Fluency assessment. Study results suggest a professional learning model that includes coaching is beneficial to student achievement (Carlisle ; Berebitsky, 2011).

In related research with Reading First Schools, Elish-Piper and L’Allier (2011) examined the relationship between the amount of time spent coaching, level of coaching, the content of literacy coaching, and K-third grade student reading growth. The research findings revealed that the amount of time spent working with an individual teacher was a significant predictor of student reading growth in both for kindergarten and second-grade students. The specific coaching activities found to have the most substantial relationship with student reading achievement growth were:
conferences with individual teachers,
ongoing classroom observations
analysis of assessment data demonstration lessons
co-teaching lessons focused on reading comprehension.
These conclusions parallel research regarding the characteristics and roles of an effective literacy coach, as well as those findings regarding the improvements to instructional practice and student achievement as a result of effective literacy coaching (Elish-Piper & L’Allier, 2011).

Although the studies discussed above demonstrated that literacy coaching had a positive impact on student achievement, not all studies have produced the same findings. One such study conducted by Feighan and Heeren (2009) investigated whether literacy coaching led to an improvement in middle school students’ reading achievement. During the two-year longitudinal study, the reading scores of the control group, where there was no literacy coach present. were found to be significantly higher than the reading scores of the students in the treatment group where teachers work collaboratively with literacy coaches for two years. Furthermore, teachers displayed perceptions of increased student engagement as a result of collaborating with a literacy coach. However, there was still not a positive change in student achievement. Researchers could not determine the exact cause of the disparity between teachers’ perception and actual student achievement. However, researchers assert that the disparity may be attributed to contextual factors outside of the scope of the study (Feighan ; Heeren, 2009). Consequently, the obvious disparity between teachers’ perceptions and an actual increase in student achievement is relevant to a need for further research on this topic because the primary purpose of literacy coaching is to improve student outcomes by improving teacher practice (Scott et al., 2012).

Summary
This body of research demonstrates that the use of literacy coaches minimizes the gap in the training opportunities necessary to provide effective literacy instruction. Students benefited from literacy instruction that took a more balanced approach and provided them with a repertoire of strategies (Bitter et al., 2009). High-quality professional learning was determined to be an effective method to allow teachers to enhance their delivery methods (Joyce & Showers, 2002). Additionally, research is divided in that certain studies suggests that the literacy-coaching model influences effective literacy instruction, which in turn influences student achievement (Denton et al., 2007), while other studies do not support the same assertion (Feighan & Heeren, 2009).
CHAPTER THREE
METHODOLOGY
General Purpose
Although there is a steady increase in the number of literacy coaches employed in school systems nationwide, there is little empirical evidence regarding the effectiveness of coaching in impacting student reading achievement growth. Research shows that there must be an ongoing collaboration between the teacher and the literacy coach to provide the beneficial literacy instruction to meet the needs of all students. Furthermore, increased accountability measures aimed to improve literacy achievement are evident nationwide (International Reading Association, 2002). Therefore, school systems must be able to determine the effectiveness of their literacy-coaching model to make data-informed decisions about systematic changes in literacy instruction and professional learning.

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of the Literacy Coaching model implementation phase and its impact on first through third-grade reading growth achievement. To develop an understanding of the effectiveness of the Literacy Coaching Model implementation phase, the following research questions served as the basis for data collection and procedures:
What are first through third-grade teachers’ perceptions of the literacy coach’s ability to influence their sense of efficacy for delivery of effective literacy instruction?
What are the specific professional learning opportunities that literacy coaches perceive as positively impacting the delivery of effective literacy instruction?
What is the impact of the Literacy Coaching Model implementation phase on first through third-grade reading achievement growth?
Research Context
This study was an evaluation of the effectiveness of two phases of the Literacy Coaching Model. The setting for the research was in two rural school districts in the Pee Dee Region of South Carolina. District A has an enrollment of approximately 4,075 students and the district is comprised of 8 schools and 294 teachers. District B is almost twice the size of District A with an enrollment of approximately 7,275 students, a sum of 17 schools and a total of 493 teachers (Table 3.1).
Table 3.1
School Enrollment Data Comparison
School Enrollment Data
Student Population Number of Schools Number of Teachers
District A 4,075 8 294
District B 7,275 17 493
The fourteen schools selected for this study received state-mandated funds through the Read to Succeed Act to employ literacy coaches who offered weekly professional learning opportunities. District A has five out of eight schools that employ full-time literacy coaches while nine out of the seventeen schools within District B utilize full-time literacy coaches.

The study utilized a quasi-experimental mixed-method design with both quantitative and qualitative data to determine differences in reading achievement growth among first through third-grade students within two rural school districts schools in the Pee Dee Region of South Carolina. District A consists of the schools in the Level two implementation phase in which the Literacy Coaching model designed included school-level choice curriculum and professional learning focused on analyzing practice. District B includes schools in the Level three implementation phase in which the Literacy Coaching model design utilizes a district-wide reading curriculum and workshop focus in conjunction with professional learning centered on changing practice.

Qualitative data included two separate focus group interviews with a total of ten literacy coaches responsible for facilitating balanced literacy within the schools to determine specific professional learning activities that positively influence effective literacy instruction. Quantitative data included survey data from the administration of the literacy specific measure of self -efficacy, Teachers’ Self- Efficacy for Literacy Instruction Scale, to capture first through third-grade teacher perception of the literacy coach’s ability to influence their self-efficacy for effective literacy instruction (Tschannen-Moran & Johnson, 2011). The researcher collected additional quantitative data in the form of student reading achievement growth data from the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) Assessment to determine the impact of the literacy coaching model implementation phase on first through third-grade reading achievement growth.

Research Design
This study followed a mixed methods research design. According to Greene, Carcelli and Graham (1989), there are five broad reasons for utilizing the mixed methods approach:
triangulation,
complementarity,
development,
initiation, and
expansion.
Each of these rationales demonstrates the value of the methodology by enhancing and/or informing the results of one method with the results of the other. In addition, the rationales corroborate findings from the different techniques to examine the same issue and broaden the range of research using different methods for various components (Greene, Caracelli, & Graham, 1989). According to (Gall, Gall, & Borg, 2007), the quasi-experimental design is the most common design utilized in educational research. Consequently, this educational research employed a quasi-experimental design because the researcher did not randomly assign participants to a control and experimental group. The independent variable was the phase of the literacy coach model implementation and the dependent variable was first through third-grade reading achievement growth as demonstrated by the 2017-2018 Measures of Academic Progress results.

The target population for this study was first through third-grade teachers employed in two rural districts within the Pee Dee region of South Carolina. The researcher used convenience sampling to work with teachers who were willing and able to serve as participants in the study. Another target population for this study was literacy coaches who implemented the balanced literacy professional development framework. Since schools within the sites utilize literacy coaches to conduct professional learning, the researcher used a purposeful homogeneous sampling when considering individuals who participated in the focus group interviews. For this sample, the researcher identified individuals of similar backgrounds and experiences in literacy coaching to reduce variation and facilitate focus group interviewing.
Instrumentation
Surveys
As part of the quantitative data collection, the researcher invited first through third teachers within two rural school districts in the Pee Dee Region of South Carolina to complete the Teachers’ Self- Efficacy for Literacy Instruction Scale, via Survey Monkey.com. Through this survey administration, the researcher was able to capture sixty-two first through third-grade teachers’ perceptions of the ability of the literacy coach to impact their self-efficacy to deliver effective literacy instruction. The original TSELIS employed a nine-point continuum Likert scale in which the responses ranged from one, “not at all” to nine, “a great deal.” The TSELIS survey was composed of 22 questions related to the teachers’ sense of self-efficacy for literacy instruction, which included the categories of reading and writing instructional strategies, capacity for student engagement and use of assessment data (Tschannen-Moran ; Johnson, 2011). According to Garson (2013), research instruments illustrate an indicator of internal reliability by demonstrating alpha levels above 0.70. Consequently, the TSELIS shows strong internal reliability as research indicates that all 22 items demonstrated strong factor coefficients, ranging from 0.83 to 0.63 (Tschannen-Moran ;Johnson, 2011).
Prior to survey administration, the researcher obtained permission from Dr. Tschannen-Moran to use and modify her instrument in the research study. The researcher also changed the survey’s nine-point Likert Scale to a five-point Likert Scale. Additional questions added to the existing survey included demographic information such as:
grade level taught,
district in which they taught,
number of years of experience in education,
number of years working with a literacy coach, and
the highest level of education completed.
The demographic data collected presented a snapshot of the overall characteristics of the educator population within the study. In addition, the researcher included questions regarding the literacy coaches’ ability to influence effective literacy instruction in the modified survey. The 34-question modified version of the survey was peer-reviewed by a group of five educators who part of the target population were not. The peer review process was to ensure survey item clarity, appropriateness of questions asked, and ease-of-use regarding the survey instrument. Based on the expert panel responses to the survey instrument, the researcher made changes to the instrument to maintain reliability and validity.

Focus Group Interviews
As part of the qualitative data collection, two separate focus group interviews took place with the literacy coaches who had the responsibility for implementing balanced literacy within the two districts. The researcher established focus groups to determine the multiple viewpoints of literacy coaches regarding the specific professional learning opportunities that positively impacted effective literacy instruction. Focus group interview questions were constructed and based on the research purpose and the comprehensive literature review. The researcher pilot tested 13 focus group interview questions before use in the actual focus group session. In order to facilitate the focus group session, the focus group interview protocol began with general questions about professional learning and progressed to more specific questions addressing how the literacy-coaching model influenced effective literacy instruction.
Student Reading Achievement Growth
Both school systems captured student reading achievement growth data as measured by valid and reliable nation-wide assessments, known as the Measures of Academic Progress. These assessments are computer adaptive and supply reliable data that reveal the individual learning level of every student. Furthermore, MAP determines areas of strength, opportunities for improvement and the assessment is designed to measure individual growth over time. To strengthen the integrity of the assessment, the Northwest Evaluation Association developed the Rasch Unit, (RIT scale) according to the Item Response Theory principles. Researchers obtain the RIT value of a test item by utilizing a rigorous calibration process and the RIT scale is continuous across grades, which makes it ideal to track student achievement growth both within and across school years. Additionally, each MAP test item is field tested with thousands of students across the nation and the field test results allow researchers to calibrate the test items precisely (NWEA, 2004).

In addition, researchers conducted internal reliability to ensure that test items were consistent. According to NWEA (2004), the reliability coefficient for the MAP assessment falls within the range of 0.92-0.95, which demonstrates strong internal consistency. Researchers utilized marginal reliability coefficients for these tests that yielded values that averaged 0.94, which illustrates the same strong positive relationship. The study also found adequate evidence of strong and positive construct and content validity for the assessment (r = 0.85) (NWEA, 2004).
Procedures
Research Question One
What are first through third-grade teachers’ perceptions of the literacy coach’s ability to influence their sense of efficacy for delivery of effective literacy instruction?
Explanation. The researcher received permission from the two participating school districts and approval from Wingate University’s IRB granted on February 13, 2018 (Appendix). Upon approval, the researcher began the data collection process. The researcher concluded that the most efficient and advantageous manner to distribute surveys would be via email. According to Gall et al. (2007), contacting participants prior to sending survey instruments enhances the response rate. Consequently, the literacy coaches at each school site received a phone call and a pre-contact email notifying them of the arrival of the survey. One week following pre-contact, the researcher sent an invitation email with a letter of explanation and a direct link to the consent form and TSELIS survey to literacy coaches at participating school sites. The literacy coach then forwarded the survey email to each first through third-grade teacher who participated in the balanced literacy-coaching model. Teachers took the survey online via SurveyMonkey.com, created through a password-protected account, and the identities of all participants remained confidential.
After a two-week window, the researcher provided a follow-up email and phone call to literacy coaches at each school site to further encourage participant response. A total of 62 teachers responded to the survey. The researcher utilized computer software to analyze survey data. The researcher utilized a table to display descriptive statistics, mean, and standard deviation calculated for each of the TSELIS questions seven through 34. This analysis allowed for a closer look at individual item ratings and a more in-depth analysis of the individual teachers’ self-efficacy for literacy instruction as well as the literacy coaches’ ability to influence their self-efficacy. In addition, the researcher utilized a table to display a cross-tabulation performed to analyze and compare the survey results from District A and District B. The researcher conducted this cross tabulation to determine patterns in means of questions specific to individual teacher’s sense of efficacy in delivering reading instructional strategies, writing instructional strategies, capacity for student engagement and use of assessment data not shown through the analysis of the overall survey responses. Moreover, the researcher utilized an additional table to display chi-square results conducted to compare different categories within groups.

Research Question Two
What are the specific professional learning opportunities that literacy coaches perceive as positively impacting the delivery of effective literacy instruction?
Explanation. As part of the qualitative data collection, the researcher conducted two separate focus group interview sessions with literacy coaches responsible for implementing balanced literacy within the two districts. The researcher utilized purposive sampling to select literacy coaches asked to volunteer to participate in the focus group session. The researcher sent an email to all participants with details regarding the purpose of the focus group and a copy of the consent form to participate in the study. In addition, the researcher notified participants of the location, time and date of the focus interview session. The researcher served as the lead moderator and before beginning the focus group interviews, the researcher read and reviewed the consent document. Subjects who volunteered to participate completed the informed consent and the researcher provided audiotaped notification. The researcher provided pseudonyms to protect the identity of participants. Upon conclusion of the focus group interviews, the researcher transcribed the data utilizing an online service. Estimated time of the focus group interview was 45 minutes. To analyze data, the researcher completed thematic analysis by utilizing open/focused coding, developing categories and determining themes.
Research Question Three
What is the impact of the Literacy Coaching Model implementation phase on first through third grade reading achievement growth?Explanation. In addition to the TSELIS survey, the researcher analyzed additional quantitative data in the form of Measures of Academic Progress pre and post-assessment scores for each school site. The researcher accessed District Summary reports that provided data regarding growth at the district or school level by subject area and grade. This report compared growth to norms and illustrated or isolated areas of strength and concern. The researcher determined the average reading achievement growth for individual school site as well as the average reading achievement growth for each specific phase of the literacy coaching model implementation. Furthermore, the researcher identified the average growth for each school prior to and after the literacy coaching model implementation to determine trends in reading achievement growth over time. The researcher conducted a t-test to determine if there was a significant difference in reading achievement growth between the two phases of implementation. The researcher displayed data results in table format.

Methodology Summary
This chapter demonstrates how the researcher examined quantitative and qualitative data to evaluate the implementation phases of the Literacy Coaching Model within two rural school districts in the Pee Dee Region of South Carolina. This study utilized a mixed-methods approach in a quasi-experimental design to determine differences in reading achievement growth among first through third-grade students at the participating school sites. Furthermore, this chapter describes the statistical methods and procedures used to analyze and provide insight into teacher and literacy coach perceptions of teacher self-efficacy for delivering effective literacy instruction as well as the specific professional learning opportunities that positively impact effective literacy instruction.
Chapter 4
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of the Literacy Coaching model implementation phase and its impact on first through third-grade reading achievement growth. Several quantitative and qualitative data points were utilized, compiled and analyzed to comprehensively examine teacher self-efficacy, literacy coach perceptions of professional learning and reading growth performance of the 14 schools included in this study. Chapter 4 illustrate the study’s findings to provide recommendations in Chapter 5. The following research questions were formulated to guide the data collection and analysis:
What are first through third-grade teachers’ perceptions of literacy coaches’ ability to influence their sense of efficacy for delivery of effective literacy instruction?
What are the specific professional learning opportunities that literacy coaches perceive as positively impacting the delivery of effective literacy instruction?
What is the impact of the Literacy Coaching Model implementation phase on first through third-grade reading achievement growth?
Survey Participant Demographics
For the purpose of this study, the term first through third grade teacher refers to individuals whose major purpose was working with literacy coaches to improve literacy instruction for first through third grade students. Sixty -two first through third-grade teachers responded to the online Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy for Literacy Instruction Survey (TSELIS). The researcher obtained permission from Dr. Tschannen-Moran to utilize and modify the existing survey. The modified survey consisted of five demographic questions related to the following characteristics:
grade level taught,
district in which they taught,
number of years of experience in education,
number of years working with a literacy coach, and
the highest level of education completed.
Figures 1-5 provides a snapshot of the characteristics of the teacher participants who volunteered to take part in this study.
Figure 4.1

Note. Thirty-seven percent of respondents indicated that they were from District A and 63% indicated that they were from District B
Figure 4.2

Note. District A had 57% of respondents who taught first grade, 17% who taught second grade and 26% who taught third grade. District B had 39% of respondents who taught first grade, 28% who taught second grade and 33% who taught third grade.
Figure 4.3

Note: District A had 9% of respondents with 0-5 years of experience, 22% with 6-10 years of experience, 26% with 11-15 years of experience, 9% with 16-20 years of experience 4% with 21-25 years of experience and 30% with 26 plus years of experience. District B had 15% of respondents with 0-5 years of experience, 26% with 6-10 years of experience, and 15% with 11-15 years of experience, 18% with 16-20 years of experience, 18% with 21-25 years of experience and 8% with 26 plus years of experience.

Figure 4.4

Note. District A had 83% of respondents, who worked with a literacy coach for 0-5 years, 9% of respondents who worked with a literacy coach for 6-10 years, 4% of respondents who worked with a literacy coach for 11-15 years and 4% who worked with a literacy coach for 16-20 years. District B had 56% of respondents, who worked with a literacy coach for 0-5 years, 36% of respondents who worked with a literacy coach for 6-10 years, 8% of respondents who worked with a literacy coach for 11-15 years.

Figure 4.5

Note. District A had 22% teachers with a Bachelors Degree, 70% with a Masters Degree, 4% with a Doctoral Degree and 4% who indicated Other. District B had 18% of teachers with a Bachelors Degree, 77% with a Masters Degree, and 5% who indicated Other.

The majority of teacher participants, 63%, indicated that they worked in District B, considered as the Level three of implementation phase where schools utilize a district-wide reading curriculum and professional learning with a focus on changing instructional practices. The remaining teacher participants, 37%, indicated that they worked in District A, considered as Level two implementation phase in which schools utilize a school level reading curriculum and professional learning with a focus on analyzing instructional practice. The majority of teacher participants, 46%, in both District A and District B, taught first grade, followed by 31% of teachers who taught third grade and 23% who taught second grade. Most teachers in District A had 26 plus years educational experience while most teacher participants, 26%, in District B had 6-10 years of educational experience. The majority of teachers, 66%, in District A and District B had 0-5 years of experience working with a literacy coach and most teacher participants in District A and District B, 74% earned a Masters Degree.

Cross Tabulation for TSELIS Results
Research Question One-What are the first through third-grade teacher’s perceptions of the literacy coach’s ability to influence their sense of self-efficacy for delivery of effective literacy instruction?
Research question one examined first through third grade teachers’ perceptions of the literacy coach’s ability to influence their sense of efficacy for delivery of effective literacy instruction by utilizing a modified version of the TSELIS survey comprised of Likert scale questions with 5 response choices ranging from 1-not at all, 2-very little, 3-some degree, 4-quite a bit and 5- a great deal. The researcher conducted a cross-tabulation to examine the relationship between variables within data sets. The researcher completed a cross tabulation of questions 7-28 to determine patterns in means of questions specific to individual teacher’s sense of efficacy in delivering reading instructional strategies, writing instructional strategies, capacity for student engagement and use of assessment data. The following table displays the results.

Table 4.1
Cross-Tabulation of Means for TSELIS Results.

Question District A District B
Question 7 4.35 4.36
Question 8 4.30 4.44
Question 9 4.30 4.41
Question 10 4.30 4.36
Question 11
Question 12 4.04
3.83 4.05
3.82
Question 13 4.17 4.26
Question 14 3.78 3.95
Question15 3.95 3.90
Question 16.
Question 17 4.22
4.17 4.51
4.49
Question 18. 3.96 4.26
Question 19 3.74 4.05
Question 20 3.78 4.13
Question 21
Question 22 3.74
4.00 4.05
4.23
Question 23 3.78 4.21
Question 24 4.00 3.77
Ouestion 25 3.78 4.26
Question 26
Question 27 3.87
3.65
3.79
3.82
Question 28 3.61 4.13
As it relates to their individual sense of self-efficacy for literacy instruction, District A teachers responded highest (M=4.35) to Question 7, “To what extent can you use a student’s oral reading mistakes as an opportunity to teach effective reading strategies?” and District A teachers responded lowest (M=3.61) to Question 28, “How much can you do to adjust your reading materials to the proper level for individual students?” District B teachers responded highest (M=4.49) to Question 17, “To what extent can you implement effective reading strategies in your classroom?” and District B teachers responded lowest (M=3.77) to Question 24, “To what extent can you implement word study strategies to teach spelling?” The results indicate that District A teachers have a high sense of efficacy related to utilizing data to implement effective reading strategies and they would benefit from additional support to increase their sense of efficacy in the ability to differentiate instruction. Likewise, the results suggest District B teachers are confident in their ability to implement effective reading strategies, but an opportunity of growth for District B teachers is their sense of efficacy for the implementation of effective writing strategies.
Descriptive Statistics for TSELIS Results
Research Question One- What are the first through third-grade teacher’s perceptions of the literacy coach’s ability to influence their sense of self-efficacy for delivery of effective literacy instruction?
The researcher employed a cross tabulation in conjunction with descriptive statistics to examine patterns in the measure of central tendency as well as highlight variance in distribution. The following table shows descriptive statistics for Questions 29-34 related to the literacy coach’s ability to influence first through third-grade teachers’ sense of efficacy to deliver effective literacy instruction.

Table 4.2
Descriptive Statistic Table for Q29: To what degree has the literacy coach influenced your ability to deliver effective literacy instruction.

District N M SD
District A
23 3.74 0.90
District B
38 3.74 1.09
Table 4.3
Descriptive Statistic Table for Q30: To what degree has the literacy coach influenced your ability to offer differentiated instruction.

District N M SD
District A
23 3.65 0.70
District B
39 3.62 1.10
Table 4.4
Descriptive Statistic Table for Q31: To what degree has the literacy coach influenced your ability to model effective reading strategies.

District N M SD
District A
23 3.70 0.91
District B
39 3.72 1.06
Table 4.5
Descriptive Statistic Table for Q32: To what degree has the literacy coach influenced your ability to model effective writing strategies.

District N M SD
District A
23 3.13 1.12
District B
39 3.36 1.02
Table 4.6
Descriptive Statistic Table for Q33: To what degree has the literacy coach influenced your ability to meet the needs of struggling readers.

District N M SD
District A
22 3.32 0.92
District B
39 3.77 1.14
Table 4.7
Descriptive Statistic Table for Q34: To what degree has the literacy coach influenced your ability to use a variety of informal and formal reading assessment strategies.

District N M SD
District A
23 3.70 0.80
District B
39 3.72 1.15
Descriptive statistics illustrate that District A and District B teachers had similar responses to Question 29, “To what degree has the literacy coach influenced your ability to deliver effective literacy instruction? “The results indicate that both District A (M=3.74 SD=0.90) and District B (M=3.74 SD=1.09 had an equal perception of the degree literacy coaches influenced their ability to deliver effective literacy instruction, which suggest that teachers’ sense of efficacy is not influenced by implementation phase. Overall, District A teachers responded highest to Question 29 related to their perception of the literacy coaches’ ability to influence literacy instruction (M=3.74 SD=0.90) while District B teachers responded higher to Question 33 related to the literacy coaches’ ability to meet the needs of struggling readers (M=3.77, SD=1.14). Both District A (M=3.13 SD=1.12) and District B (M=3.36 SD=1.02) responded lowest to Question 32 which indicated that literacy coaches did not have a strong influence upon their ability to model effective writing strategies. These results reiterate the need for more intentional assistance from literacy coaches to enhance teacher’s sense of efficacy for the delivery of writing instruction.

The overall means for District A and District B are lower for Questions 29-34 related specifically to the literacy coach’s ability to influence teacher’s self-efficacy for the delivery of effective literacy instruction. In addition, the standard deviation increases particularly for District B which indicates a higher variance of responses for District B teachers. These results imply that teacher participants have a sense autonomy as it relates to the delivery of effective literacy instruction and the influence of the literacy coach on teacher’s sense of efficacy for the delivery of effective literacy instruction is not as prevalent among teacher participants.
Inferential Statistics for TSELIS Results
Research Question One- What are the first through third-grade teacher’s perceptions of the literacy coach’s ability to influence their sense of efficacy for delivery of effective literacy instruction?
The researcher employed a Chi-square goodness of fit statistical test which is used to assess if observed frequencies differed from expected frequencies. In addition, the Chi-square test is used for testing the statistical significance of the categorical variables and is used to determine whether the variables are independent. If the variables are independent, then the results of the statistical test are not significant, and we are not able to reject the null hypothesis, meaning that we believe there is no relationship between the variables or the expected and observed results. If the variables are related, then the results of the statistical test will be statistically significant and we are able to reject the null hypothesis, meaning that there is a relationship between the variables. The following tables illustrate the Chi square results for Questions 29-34 related specifically to literacy coaches’ ability to influence teachers’ sense of efficacy to deliver effective literacy instruction.
Table 4.8
Results of Chi-square Test and Descriptive Statistics for Q29: To what degree has the literacy coach influenced your ability to deliver effective literacy instruction
To What Extent/Degree
District Not at All Very Little Some Degree Quite a Bit A Great Deal
District A 0 (0%) 1 (4%) 10 (43%) 6 (26%) 6 (26%)
District B 1 (3%) 4 (11%) 11 (29%) 10 (26%) 12 (32%)
Note. 2 = 2.298*, df = 4, p = 0.681. Numbers in parentheses indicate column percentages.

*p < .05
Table 4.9
Results of Chi-square Test and Descriptive Statistics for Q30: To what degree has the literacy coach influenced your ability to offer differentiated instruction
To What Extent/Degree
District Not at All Very Little Some Degree Quite a Bit A Great Deal
District A 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 11 (48%) 9 (39%) 3 (13%)
District B 1 (3%) 5 (13%) 13 (33%) 9 (23%) 11 (28%)
Note. 2 = 7.081*, df = 4, p = 0.132. Numbers in parentheses indicate column percentages.

*p < .05
Table 4.10
Results of Chi-square Test and Descriptive Statistics for Q31: To what degree has the literacy coach influenced your ability to model effective reading strategies
To What Extent/Degree
District Not at All Very Little Some Degree Quite a Bit A Great Deal
District A 0 (0%) 2 (9%) 8 (35%) 8 (35%) 5 (22%)
District B 1 (3%) 4 (10%) 11 (28%) 12 (31%) 11 (28%)
Note. 2 = 1.137*, df = 4, p = 0.888. Numbers in parentheses indicate column percentages.

*p < .05
Table 4.11
Results of Chi-square Test and Descriptive Statistics for Q32: To what degree has the literacy coach influenced your ability to model effective writing strategies
To What Extent/Degree
District Not at All Very Little Some Degree Quite a Bit A Great Deal
District A 3 (13%) 1 (4%) 12 (52%) 4 (17%) 3 (13%)
District B 3 (8%) 2 (5%) 17 (44%) 12 (31%) 5 (13%)
Note. 2 = 1.678*, df = 4, p = 0.795. Numbers in parentheses indicate column percentages.

*p < .05
Table 4.12
Results of Chi-square Test and Descriptive Statistics for Q33: To what degree has the literacy coach influenced your ability to meet the needs of struggling readers
To What Extent/Degree
District Not at All Very Little Some Degree Quite a Bit A Great Deal
District A 1 (5%) 2 (9%) 10 (45%) 7 (32%) 2 (9%)
District B 2 (5%) 3 (8%) 10 (26%) 11 (28%) 13 (33%)
Note. 2 = 5.151*, df = 4, p = 0.272. Numbers in parentheses indicate column percentages.

*p < .05
Table 4.13
Results of Chi-square Test and Descriptive Statistics for Q34: To what degree has the literacy coach influenced your ability to use a variety of informal and formal reading assessment strategies
To What Extent/Degree
District Not at All Very Little Some Degree Quite a Bit A Great Deal
District A 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 12 (52%) 6 (26%) 5 (22%)
District B 2 (5%) 4 (10%) 9 (23%) 12 (31%) 12 (31%)
Note. 2 = 7.694*, df = 4, p = 0.103. Numbers in parentheses indicate column percentages.

*p < .05
Skewness is the degree to which a distribution of values departs from symmetry around the mean. The results from the Chi-square are right skewed in that a normal distribution is not constructed. In addition, no significant findings may be made from the results as all p-values are greater than 0.05, suggesting a high probability of chance. Therefore, there was insufficient evidence to reject the null hypothesis and the results suggest that there is not a significant difference in the types of observed and expected responses regarding District A and District B first through third-grade teachers’ perceptions of literacy coaches’ ability to influence their sense of self-efficacy. The findings suggest that the level of implementation does not impact perception of the literacy coaches’ ability to influence teachers’ sense of self-efficacy for literacy instruction.

Based on the information from the data analysis for research question one, teachers perceive themselves as having have a high sense of efficacy as it relates to their individual ability to deliver effective literacy instruction. However, teachers do not perceive the literacy coaches as having a substantial amount of influence upon their sense of efficacy for literacy instruction. The difference in the teacher perception of the literacy coaches’ influence and their individual sense of self-efficacy may be attributed to a surface-level understanding of the literacy coaches’ role as facilitator of the effective implementation of literacy instruction. In addition, the conclusion that preference is not associated with level of implementation suggests that teacher participants experience a sense of autonomy despite the level of given literacy coaching.

Research Question Two-What are the specific learning opportunities that literacy coaches perceive as positively impacting delivery of effective literacy instruction?
Research question two investigates literacy coaches’ perceptions of specific professional learning opportunities that positively impact delivery of effective literacy instruction. Two separate focus group interview sessions were conducted. Three out of five literacy coaches participated from District A. While six out of nine literacy coaches participated from District B. Both focus group participants received the same thirteen open-ended questions which included the five types recommended by Krueger (2002): 1) opening questions, 2) introductory questions, 3) transition questions, 4) key questions and 5) ending questions. The thematic analysis of both focus group transcripts illuminated the following six themes: 1) cognitive coaching, 2) peer coaching, 3) level 2 coaching activities, 4) level 3 coaching activities, 5) teacher self-efficacy and 6) professional learning opportunities. The following tables and narrative illustrate the results of the thematic analysis conducted to answer research question 2.
To create a conducive environment, the opening question focused on what literacy coaches perceived as their most important role as a literacy coach. The table below illustrates a comparison of literacy coaches statements regarding their roles and the connection to the cognitive coaching theory.

Table 4.14 Most Important role as a literacy coach
District A Cognitive Coaching (Mentoring /Support) District B Cognitive Coaching (Mentoring and Support)
My most important role is to give support to teachers when it comes to reading
One the biggest roles is supporting teachers with the implementation of balanced literacy.
I feel my most important role is to support the teachers in their literacy needs. I feel my most important role is to be present in teachers’ classrooms and support teachers with literacy.

I feel like my most important role is to support the teacher in whatever capacity they need
Support, guidance and decision-making relate to my role as a literacy coach
Cognitive Coaching
A common thread found throughout participant responses from both District A and District B was the idea of supporting teachers. Literacy coach L from District A expressed the importance of supporting teachers in delivering instruction for all students through the following statement: “One of my biggest roles is supporting my teachers with the implementation of balanced literacy, but also with helping teachers with students. Whether it’s the top students, the middle students or the students that- that need some extra help.” While literacy coach L emphasized her role as a mentor with the responsibility of providing teachers with the necessary tools to differentiate instruction, literacy Coach S from District B acknowledged her duty to assist teachers with working to improve student outcomes by the following comment: “My most important roles as a coach are to coach side by side with my teachers and help them with things they feel they want extra assistance with based on student achievement. I’m a support, kind of like their cheerleader to help them out because they’re in the trenches every day.” Literacy Coach S highlights the need to form productive relationships with teachers so that they feel a sense of collegiality in their efforts to deliver instruction. Despite the varying levels of literacy coaching implementation between District A and District B, focus group participants asserted that their role as a facilitator of professional learning created and environment conducive to coaching as well as optimal conditions for teachers to improve instructional practices.

To orient participants to the overall topic, an introductory question focused on the specific goals for balanced literacy at each school site. The below table illustrates a comparison of district goals that reflect the current phase of literacy coaching implementation.
Table 4.15 Goals of Balanced Literacy
District A Statements depicting level 2 District B Statements depicting level 3
Really it’s been a year of understanding the different components of balanced literacy.

Another goal is making sure that the classroom is ready for a balanced literacy approach
This year has been a time for ensuring there are books in the classroom for all children to read, at all levels.
Anchor charts for students on the standards are visible within classrooms.

We are working to support foundational skills so that we can move forward with balanced literacy.

Most recently our goal was work on our writing and that is what our professional development is based around.

Our goals were to use best practices throughout the curriculum and a workshop approach for reading, writing and research.

Our goal this year was to implement Lucy Calkins and the ten -minute mini lesson with fidelity
Our goal was to make sure that we had all the components of balanced literacy and to make sure that our time was appropriate for each section of it.
Level 2 and Level 3 Implementation Characteristics
Literacy coaches’ comments reflect that District A appears to be in the Level two implementation phase of literacy coaching. It is evident that District A is in the awareness stage of Balanced Literacy as suggested by the following remarks from literacy coach L: “This has been a year of understanding the different components of balanced literacy. We are completing a lot of the foundational work in order to help teachers with seeing the whole, so we can start working on the individual pieces.” Literacy coach J shared similar sentiments regarding the current stage of awareness, but she notes the need “to move forward with a deeper understanding, a deeper implementation in the near future.” Although literacy coach L expresses a desire to work towards addressing areas of focus, it appears that District B literacy coaches have a more complete picture of the specific goals related to the literacy coaching model implementation. Literacy coach T from District B shared that for his school the “goals were using best practices throughout the curriculum all day as well as a workshop approach for reading, writing, and research.” This statement suggests that this school in District B has moved beyond the awareness stage and has shifted to an intentional reform of instructional practices. Moreover, District B literacy coaches have reflected upon the goals for the current year and they are envisioning future goals as indicated by literacy coach P’s statement that the “goal this year with reading Lucy Calkins was implementing the ten-minute mini lesson with fidelity. We’re getting ready to move forward with the same goals for writing next year as well.” Statements from both District A and District B literacy coaches demonstrate a recognition of the current level of implementation but also illustrate the need to advance along the Levels of Intensity Continuum. This desire to move forward is what literacy coach K perceives will allow teachers to “deliver best practices in the classroom.”

As a segue way to discussion around the key ideas, a transition question centered on how literacy coaches determined strategies to work with teachers. The following table compares literacy coaches’ statements related to how the chosen strategies increase teachers’ sense of efficacy.

Table 4.16 Strategies for working with teachers
District A Statements about Teacher Self-Efficacy District B Statements about Teacher Self-Efficacy
Teachers are provided strategies during PLC’S and they go take the strategies back to the classroom to use them. Teachers learn by doing.

Literacy coaches provide one-on-one support to help teachers grow
Teamwork allows us to make balanced literacy work for the kids. Find out what teachers are doing well and focus on that bright spot.

Literacy coaches must understand that not all teachers are at the same level and we must support teachers where they are.

I have to get teachers to own balanced literacy for themselves.

Activities to build self-efficacy
When asked about the strategies used to work with teachers, literacy coaches from both District A and District B expressed how the strategies influenced the teachers’ sense of efficacy. Literacy coach B from District A shared how PLCs provided teachers with the opportunity to “learn by doing.” Literacy coach J from District A elaborated on the idea of authentic learning by discussing how coaching cycles provided the necessary guidance and “one-on-one support to help teachers grow.” Furthermore, literacy coach B from District A expressed how she helped to build teachers’ confidence through the following statement: “On this journey of implementing balanced literacy, we don’t have all the answers. However, together as a team, we can make it work for these kids.”
Similar to District A literacy coaches, District B literacy coaches voiced the importance of building relationships and confidence. As stated by literacy coach P, it is important to “praise teachers for what they are doing well.” In addition, literacy coach B expressed the need to increase teachers’ sense of efficacy by “pushing teachers to own” balanced literacy. Overall, literacy coaches perceive that the chosen strategies positively influence teacher self-efficacy, which increases their motivation to deliver effective instruction.
To determine specific professional learning opportunities literacy coaches perceived as influencing literacy instruction, key questions were posed regarding the types and frequency of professional learning, elements of professional learning that elicited reflection and components of professional learning deemed most valuable. The following tables compare responses from District A and District B literacy coaches.

Table 4.17 Types of professional learning
District A Statements about Professional Learning Opportunities District B Statements about Professional Learning Opportunities
Professional learning focused on unpacking content standards
Analyzing benchmark and Fountas and Pinnell data
Engaging in book studies
Learning labs
In the moment coaching
One-on-one assistance during coaching cycles Collaborative planning using Lucy Calkin Units of Study
Professional Learning Labs
Text dependent analysis training
Intensive coaching cycles
Intentional coaching based upon teacher needs
Training on the workshop approach
Literacy leadership team

Professional learning activities
During the focus group interviews, there was an overlap in the type of activities mentioned by literacy coaches in District A and District B. The difference was illustrated through the intensity in which coaching activities was implemented. Currently District A focuses on weekly PLCs with English Language Arts teachers, while District B focuses on working with all content area teachers. Both districts provided learning lab simulations as a way to model balanced literacy components. However, each district designed the professional learning differently to meet the needs of teachers. Literacy coach L from District A described the learning labs as “an opportunity to focus on a certain component of balanced literacy as teachers watched literacy coaches model specific strategies.”
On the other hand, literacy coach S from District B indicated the difference in intensity of their learning labs when she described teachers as “actually participating in the lesson.” According to literacy coach S, “some teachers were modeling a small group, some were modeling conferring, some of them were modeling the mini lesson. Professional learning labs is an opportunity for you to see how teachers are going about the lesson, and what they feel comfortable with, and what they don’t feel comfortable with.” These statements suggest a shift in the intensity of implementation between District A and District B in that District A literacy coaches spend more time modeling strategies while District B literacy coaches provide opportunities for teachers to immerse themselves in the strategy implementation.

Table 4.18 Helping teachers become more reflective
District A statements about Peer Coaching District B statements about Peer Coaching
During PLC’s, I facilitate discussion to allow sessions to be teacher-centered.

I work with teachers to set goals and help them reflect on progress.

I ask probing questions to determine areas where teachers may need additional support. I build in reflection time at the end of each professional learning session.

I use questionnaires and debriefs to determine teacher needs.

I allow teachers to reflect after learning labs and classroom visits.

I build relationships with teachers, so they feel comfortable reflecting.

Peer coaching
When asked about how they helped teachers with becoming more reflective practitioners, literacy coaches from District A and District B discussed activities related to the concept of peer coaching. Literacy coach B from District A commented on the protocol used during PLCs that allowed “teachers to set goals and help reflect on progress.” Literacy coach T from District B demonstrated the intentionality behind reflective practices by sharing that he “uses questionnaires and debriefs to determine teacher needs” before and after coaching cycles. In addition, literacy coach L from District A shared how she workd with teachers to develop solutions to issues with instruction by asking probing questions such as, “How is it going? What do you think that you may need more support with? and Is there anything that I could do to help you?” Based on the statements, District A and District B literacy coaches view peer coaching as an opportunity to improve instruction because it is a collaborative process of reflection designed to examine and refine strategies to provide a deeper understanding of effective best practices.

Table 14.19 Most valuable strategies
District A statements about valuable components District B statements about valuable components
Modeling effective strategies help to set clear expectations.

Learning lab simulations allow teachers to see strategies in action with actual students.

Focused classroom visits allow us to observe literacy instruction. Side-by-side coaching helps to build teacher confidence.

Training in the workshop model has helped improve student achievement.

Training in the effective mini-lesson has reduced teacher talk.

Training teachers in tracking student progress through goal setting has increased student engagement
Tailoring the professional learning to meet the needs of teachers has increased motivation.

Analyzing data helps teachers to make informed instructional decisions.

The use of intentional coaching cycles has changed instruction.

Valuable professional learning
District A and District B literacy coaches indicate specific components that are valuable in transforming instruction. Literacy coach J from District A shared that modeling and the learning lab simulations are important components of professional learning because they provide “an anchor that teachers can relate back to. Not to mention, when they see you do it, then they are more willing to try it.” Literacy coach L expands upon the modeling component through her description of focused classroom visits where she has noticed an increase in stamina, awareness of expectations and improvement in achievement. These are important components of professional learning because literacy coaches and teachers allocate time to apply new learning to determine its effectiveness.
District B literacy coaches demonstrate a conscious awareness of the value of specific components when literacy coach A shared that the “side-by-side coaching and targeted PD has made all the difference.” This statement reinforces the importance of the literacy coach’s role working closely with teachers meet their individual needs. In addition, literacy coach S shared that PLCs that provide training in the various aspects of balanced literacy, such as the workshop model and the mini-lesson, has led to “an increase in test scores.” This increase in student achievement may be attributed to the collaboration between literacy coaches and teachers focused on continuous school-wide improvement. Furthermore, literacy coach P emphasized the importance of data analysis as she described a teacher who “wonderful with the workshop model because she analyzed the data to change her instruction.” Based on comments regarding valuable professional learning components, focusing on results helps literacy coaches and teachers to determine effective strategies to replicate.

Research Question Three-What is the impact of the Literacy Coaching Model implementation phase on first through third grade reading achievement growth?
Research question three examined the performance of schools in Level two and Level three phases of literacy coaching implementation. Performance data consisted of reading achievement growth scores for 14 schools. To determine the observed growth for each school the researcher examined the Rausch Unit, which measures instructional growth over time, and subtracted the ending mean RIT from the starting mean RIT for SY 2017-2018. For 10 out of the 14 schools in the study the researcher utilized Spring 2018 and Fall 2017 scores in order to calculate observed growth. However, four out of the 14 schools, District A schools 1, 2, 3 and 5, only completed winter and spring testing. Therefore, Spring 2018 and Winter 2017 scores were utilized to calculate observed growth for these school sites. The following table displays the average reading growth for each school and grade level within the study.

Table 4.20
Observed Growth for Grades 1 – 3 District A. 2017-2018
School Average Growth District A School 1 Grade 3 2.4 District A School 2 Grade 1 1.0 Grade 2 8.7 Grade 3 2.4 District A School 3 Grade 1 15.1 Grade 2 9.5 Grade 3 6.9 District A School 4 Grade 1 13.9 Grade 2 11.2 Grade 3 8.8 District A School 5 Grade 1 7.5 Grade 2 8.1 Grade 3 2.2 Table 4.21
Observed Growth for Grades 1 – 3 District B. 2017-2018
School Average Growth District B School 1 Grade 3 9.1 District B School 2 Grade 1 15.7 Grade 2 14.4 District B School 3 Grade 1 17.3 Grade 2 13.7 Grade 3 9.8 District B School 4 Grade 1 19.0 Grade 2 14.4 Grade 3 14.0 District B School 5 Grade 1 17.7 Grade 2 15.0 Grade 3 10.2 District B School 6 Grade 3 9.0 District B School 7 Grade 1 15.7 Grade 2 17.4 District B School 8 Grade 1 19.2
Grade 2 21.4
Grade 3 11.6
District B School 9 Grade 1 23.8 Grade 2 13.6 Grade 3 12.4 The growth score represents the change in RIT score from the pre to posttest administration. The highest observed growth was for a school in District B, Level three of implementation, (School 9 Grade 1 with a 23.8 point change in pre to posttest administration). A school in District A, Level two of implementation, had the least amount of growth (School 2 Grade 1 with a 1.0 point change in pre to post administration). The results indicate that a Grade 1 cohort showed higher numerical growth than a Grade 1 cohort in District A. These findings imply that the intensity level of the Literacy Coaching Model positively influences reading achievement growth, particularly for first grade cohorts.
To determine the overall average observed growth for each school site, the observed growth for grades 1-3 was averaged. The following table illustrates the results of the calculated average observed growth for grades 1-3 for District A and District B.

Table 4.22
Average Observed Growth for Grades 1 – 3 District A. 2017-2018
School Average Growth District A School 1 2.40 District A School 2 4.03 District A School 3 10.50 District A School 4 11.30 District A School 5 5.93 Table 4.23
Average Observed Growth for Grades 1 – 3 District B. 2017-2018
School Average Growth District B School 1 9.10 District B School 2 15.05 District B School 3 13.60 District B School 4 15.80 District B School 5 14.30 District B School 6 9.00 District B School 7 16.55 District B School 8 17.40
District B School 9 16.60
Tables 4.22 and 4.23 indicate that highest overall growth was for a school in District B, Level 3, (School 8 with 17.40 point difference in pre and posttest administration. The lowest overall growth was for a school in District A, Level two, (School 1with a 2.40 difference in pre and posttest scores). These results imply that level of implementation positively impacts overall school growth as well.

To determine the average growth by phase, the sum of average growth of each school within the two phases was calculated and the total was divided by the number of schools in each phase. The following table illustrates of the average observed growth by phase.

Table 4.24
Average Observed Growth by Phase 2017-2018
School/Phase Average Growth District A Level 2 6.83 District B Level 3 14.16 The results indicate that District B, Level 3 implementation, had a higher average growth (14.16 points from pre to posttest administration) than District A, Level 2 implementation (6.83 points from pre to posttest administration). These results suggest that there is a positive correlation between the level of intensity of implementation and reading achievement growth.

An independent t-test is utilized to show whether the means of two groups are statistically different from each other. Table 5 shows the results of the independent sample t-test utilized to show whether there was a significant difference in the average observed growth between District A and District B during the 2017-2018 school year. For the purpose of this study, the variables used were the literacy coaching implementation phase, the independent variable, and average reading achievement growth, dependent variable.
Table 4.25
Results of Independent Sample t-test for District A v. District B on Average Observed Growth. 2017-2018

District A v. District B T Df P Mean Difference
Reading Growth
-3.538 11 2.201 3.480
The means of District A (M=6.83) and District B (M=14.16) are significantly different, t (11) =-3.538, p ? 0.05, suggesting that the difference is not a probability of chance and we can reject the null hypothesis, meaning there is a difference in reading achievement growth scores between District A and District B for SY 2017-2018. These results echo the suggested previous findings in that as the level of intensity of literacy coaching increases, reading achievement growth increases.

To determine the average growth for District A and District B prior to literacy coaching implementation, the sum of average growth of each school was calculated and the total was divided by the number of schools. It is important to note that all school sites tested in Fall 2012 and Spring 2013, however; first grade scores were absent in 6 out of the 9 schools for District B. The following table illustrates the average observed growth by district.

Table 4.26
Average Observed Growth by District 2012-2013
School District Average Growth District A 11.16 District B 7.42 The results indicate that District A had a higher average growth (11.16 points from pre to posttest administration) than District B (7.42 points from pre to posttest administration) for SY 2012-2013. The results demonstrate that District A showed more growth than District B prior to literacy coaching implementation.

To examine the difference in reading achievement prior to the implementation of literacy coaching, an independent sample t-test was employed on the reading achievement growth data to determine if there was a significant difference in reading achievement growth between each district in SY 2012-2103. It is important to note when calculating observed growth that first grade scores for SY 2012-2013 were absent in 6 of out of the 9 schools for District B. The following tables illustrate the results for District A versus District B for SY 2012-2013.

Table 4.27
Results of Independent Sample t-test for District A v. District B on Average Observed Growth SY 2012-2013

District A v. District B T Df P Mean Difference
Reading Growth
4.1138 12 2.179 1.628
The means of District A (M=11.16 SD=2.20) and District B (M=7.42 SD=1.24) for the 2012-2013 SY are significantly different, t (12) = 4.1138, p ? 0.05, suggesting that the difference is not a probability of chance. Therefore, we can reject the null hypothesis and conclude there is a significant difference in reading achievement growth scores between District A and District B for SY 2012-2013. The results imply that District A demonstrated significantly higher growth than District B prior to literacy coaching.

To examine the difference in reading achievement prior to the implementation of literacy coaching an independent sample t-test was employed on the reading achievement growth data to determine if there was a significant difference in reading achievement growth between 2012-2013 and 2017-2018 for District A. The following table indicates the results.

Table 4.28
Results of Independent Sample t-test for District A 2012-2013 v. 2017-2018.

District A 2012-2013 v. 2017-2018 T Df P Mean Difference
Reading Growth
2.1471 8 2.306 3.186
The means of District A for 2012-2013 (M=11.16 SD=2.20) and 2017-2018 (M=6.83 SD=3.93) are not significantly different, t (8) = 2.1471, p ? 0.05, suggesting that the difference is a probability of chance and we can accept the null hypothesis that there is no difference in reading achievement growth scores for District A for the 2012-2013 and 2017- 2018 school years. Although District A demonstrated higher reading achievement growth than District B during SY 2012-2013, these results indicate District A has not shown significant reading achievement growth prior to (SY 2012-2013) as compared to (SY 2017-2018) after literacy coaching implementation. These findings suggest that the literacy coaching model implementation has not made a significant impact upon reading achievement growth within District A.

To examine the difference in reading achievement prior to the implementation of literacy coaching an independent sample t-test was employed on the reading achievement growth data to determine if there was a significant difference in reading achievement growth between 2012-2013 and 2017-2018 for District B. The following table indicates the results.

Table 4.29
Results of Independent Sample t-test for District B 2012-2013 v. 2017-2018.

District B 2012-2013 v. 2017-2018.

T Df P Mean Difference
Reading Growth
-6.0044 16 2.12 2.379
The means of District B for 2012-2013 (M=7.43 SD=1.24) and 2017-2018 (M=14.16 SD=3.13) are significantly different, t (16) = -6.0044, p ? 0.05, suggesting that the difference is not a probability of chance and we can reject the null hypothesis, meaning that there is a significant difference in reading achievement growth scores for District B for the 2012-2013 and 2017 and 2018 school years. These results indicate District B has shown significant reading achievement growth prior to and after literacy coaching implementation. These findings suggest that literacy coaching implementation has made a significant difference in reading achievement for District B.

Summary
Chapter 4 presented the results of the study, which were based on teachers’ perception of the literacy coach’s ability to influence their sense of self-efficacy, literacy coaches’ perceptions of effective professional learning opportunities and reading achievement growth scores for two districts within different phases of literacy coaching implementation. Teacher surveys show that teacher respondents have a stronger sense of individual self-efficacy for literacy instruction. However, it was found that literacy coaches do not significantly influence teachers’ sense of efficacy. In addition, survey results suggest that teacher perception of their sense of efficacy for the literacy coach’s ability to influence literacy instruction does not differ by implementation phase.

Qualitative data from two separate focus group interview sessions, illuminate the results of District A’s reflection of the level two phase of literacy coaching implementation and presents evidence of PLC based upon mentoring and support that has resulted in an increase teacher efficacy. District A has an awareness and desire to move into level three yet recognizes that there is work ahead to achieve the goal. District B is overwhelmingly strong with evidence in the level three phase of literacy coaching implementation with a conscious awareness of the importance of addressing teacher self-efficacy and the need to utilize cognitive coaching.
Based on the findings from the analysis of the Measures of Academic Progress data, there is a correlation between the level of intensity of literacy coaching and reading achievement growth. Current 2017-2018 SY quantitative data suggest schools at the lower level (Level 2) of the continuum did not display as much growth as schools at the higher level (Level 3) of the continuum during the current implementation phase. In addition, schools at the Level 3 phase of implementation demonstrated higher growth over time as compared to schools at the Level 2 phase of implementation. Therefore, the study found that the literacy coaching implementation phase had a significant impact on reading achievement growth
Chapter 5
Conclusion
With the arrival of Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015 (ESSA), there has been an intense focus on increased literacy achievement within school systems across the nation. Literacy coaching is a primary strategy that has demonstrated merit as beneficial, job-embedded professional learning model (Joyce & Showers, 2002). However, despite receiving recognition as an effective professional learning opportunity, there is ambiguity regarding the most appropriate plan for implementation for literacy coaching and its impact upon student achievement (Scott et al., 2012). The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of the Literacy Coaching model implementation phase and its impact on first through third-grade reading achievement growth. The researcher utilized a quasi-experimental mixed-methods research design, which included a Likert-scale survey, focus group interviews and student reading achievement growth data to achieve the following objectives:
Examine first through third-grade teachers’ perceptions of their sense of efficacy for literacy instruction,
Examine literacy coaches’ perceptions of their delivery of effective professional learning opportunities
Examine the significance of the Literacy Coaching Model implementation phase on student achievement.

Research Question One
What are first through third-grade teachers’ perceptions of literacy coaches’ ability to influence their sense of efficacy for delivery of effective literacy instruction?
To provide first through third grade teachers’ perceptions of literacy coaches’ ability to influence their sense of efficacy for delivery of effective literacy instruction participants were invited to complete a modified version of the TSELIS survey comprised of Likert scale questions with 5 response choices ranging from 1-not at all, 2-very little, 3-some degree, 4-quite a bit and 5- a great deal. When exploring patterns in individual teacher’s sense of self-efficacy for the delivery of effective literacy instruction findings suggest that both District A and District B teachers have a high sense of efficacy as it relates to the implementation of effective reading strategies. However, additional support is necessary to increase their sense of efficacy in the ability to offer differentiated instruction and effectively implement writing strategies.
In exploring teachers’ perceptions of literacy coaches’ ability to influence their self-efficacy for literacy instruction, the results echoed previous findings that literacy coaches did not have a strong influence upon teachers’ ability to model effective writing strategies. Therefore, literacy coaches need to intentionally support teachers in the area of writing instruction to enhance their sense of self-efficacy. When comparing the overall means of respondents for Questions 7-28 and Questions 29-34, the overall means are lower for Questions 29-34 related specifically to the literacy coach’s ability to influence teacher’s self-efficacy for the delivery of effective literacy instruction. In addition, the standard deviation increases particularly for District B. These results imply that teachers perceive that literacy coaches do not have a significant impact on their sense of efficacy for the delivery of effective literacy instruction.

Furthermore, the study determined if there was a difference in the observed value and the expected value for TSELIS questions 29-34. A total of 62 teachers responded to the survey and the results indicated that all values were p-value ? 0.05, meaning there was not a significant difference in the perceptions of District A and District B teachers. These results imply the need for teachers to understand clearly the role and purpose of the literacy coach in order to increase their sense of efficacy as it relates to the literacy coach’s influence on literacy instruction.
Based on the research reviewed in this study, the literacy coach was the determining factor between teachers who perceived they were able to implement meaningful change and continuous improvement and teachers who believed they were not capable (Tschannen-Moran ; Mcmaster, 2009). Findings from the teacher perception survey suggests teachers have a high sense of efficacy, but additional contributions from the literacy coach may further assist teachers with engaging in instructional reform. Furthermore, teachers face difficulty in understanding the most effective manner to deliver literacy instruction that focuses on different skills as well as addresses a variety of student needs (Baumann et al., 2007). The study results echo this research in that an opportunity for growth for District A teachers is in the area of differentiation of reading instruction and an opportunity for growth for District B is in the delivery of effective writing strategies. Furthermore, teachers with increased self-efficacy enhances his/her ability to effectively implement instructional strategies to increase student achievement (Allinder,1994). This research is supported through the survey results, which illustrated several areas of reinforcement as shown through District A teachers’ strong sense of autonomy in utilizing formative assessment data to inform effective reading instruction, and District B teachers’ strong sense of autonomy in the implementation of effective literacy instruction.
Research Question Two
What are the specific professional learning opportunities that literacy coaches perceive as positively impacting the delivery of effective literacy instruction?
According to Shidler (2009), the literacy coaching model has been viewed as a viable solution for building teacher self-efficacy to prepare students to take high-stake assessments. Based on the focus group interview session results, literacy coaches from District A and District B indicated that activities such as intensive coaching cycles and positive reinforcement help to enhance teachers’ sense of efficacy for literacy instruction. In addition, Shidler (2009) asserts that one of the primary goals of literacy coaches is to enhance overall teacher effectiveness by ensuring strong support in the areas instructional planning and delivery. Results from the focus group interviews support this previous research through the theme of peer coaching as literacy coaches noted activities, such as modeling and learning lab simulations, that allowed for ongoing support and mentoring opportunities. Moreover, literacy coaches’ effectiveness is dependent upon the opportunity to demonstrate model lessons, observe and provide specific feedback regarding instruction and facilitating professional learning where teachers are allowed to engage in reflective practices (Shidler, 2009). Findings from the study echo Shidler’s findings in that focused classroom visits and reflective strategies were determined to influence effective instruction.
Research Question Three
What is the impact of the Literacy Coaching Model implementation phase on first through third-grade reading achievement growth?
When examining the current phase of implementation of literacy coaching in District A and District B, the results of the independent sample t-test showed a significant difference between the means of District A (M=6.832) and District B (M=14.156), t (11) =-3.538, p ? 0.05, suggesting that there is a difference in reading achievement growth among schools as they shift forward in the phases of implementation. When exploring patterns in reading achievement prior to the literacy coaching model implementation, the means of District A (M=11.158) and District B (M=7.422) for the 2012-2013 SY are significantly different, t (12) = 4.1138, p ? 0.05, which suggests District A growth reading achievement was higher than District B. As it relates to a district’s change in achievement from before literacy coaching to the current literacy coaching implementation phase, the means of District A for 2012-2013 (M=11.158) and 2017-2017(M=6.832) are not significantly different, t (8) = 2.1471, p ? 0.05. However, the means of District B for 2012-2013 (M=7.422) and 2017-2018 (M=14.156) are significantly different, t (16) = -6.0044, p ? 0.05 which implies that literacy coaching implementation was a contributing factor to the increase of reading achievement growth within District B.
The study’s findings support the conclusions of research conducted by Carlisle and Berbitsky (2011) that examined the differences in student gains of teachers who participated in a literacy-coaching model versus teachers who did not receive literacy coaching. Findings of this study indicated that there is a correlation between literacy coaching implementation and increased student achievement (Carlisle & Berbitsky, 2011). Furthermore, the results of the study parallel that of research conducted by Elish-Piper and L’Allier (2011) which investigated the relationship between the frequency, level and content of literacy coaching and K-3 student reading gains in a district participating in the Reading First initiative. In addition, the results of this study echo results from research conducted by Elish-Piper and L’Allier (2011) which found that the level of coaching was a significant predictor of reading achievement growth. Overall, the findings of this study propose that as schools move into the higher phases of literacy coaching implementation, reading achievement growth increases
Implications
The need to determine the most effective manner in which to implement the literacy-coaching model to improve student achievement led to the development of the research questions and subsequent analysis. Based upon the findings from the TSELIS survey, it is essential that literacy coaches provide professional learning opportunities centered on implementing instructional strategies for differentiation and the delivery of a balance of reading and writing instructional strategies. Such a design will strengthen teachers’ sense of efficacy and maximize the teacher’s ability to deliver a comprehensive balanced literature approach. Furthermore, to maintain high teacher efficacy, professional learning must include opportunities to increase teacher content knowledge, confidence level for instructional delivery and the ability to overcome obstacles to strategy implementation.
Results from the focus group interview sessions demonstrate that literacy coaches have a complex responsibility to provide various professional learning opportunities to guide teachers towards effective literacy instruction. These findings point towards the need for ongoing professional learning and support for literacy coaches to stay abreast of literacy policies and research-based instructional practices. It is important to note that literacy coaches reflected upon several components of professional learning, such as mentoring and support that contributed to effective literacy instruction for teachers. However, literacy coaches must have opportunities for meaningful professional learning with other coaches to strengthen and cultivate the coaching mindset. To provide additional support for novice literacy coaches, exemplary literacy coaches may serve as mentors.
In addition, the theme of cognitive coaching identified though the focus group analysis suggest literacy coaches should foster meaningful relationships with teachers to effectively provide them with tools to enhance student achievement. Once mutual trust is established teachers feel confident implementing the necessary strategies to improve instruction. Furthermore, school systems must formally evaluate literacy coaches so that they are aware of strengths and opportunities for growth. This type of evaluation requires that supervisors who evaluate literacy coaches should have comprehensive training to gain the appropriate knowledge to conduct reliable evaluations. The overall purpose of the literacy coach evaluations would help inform literacy coaches of their effectiveness.

Another implication of this study is related to the need for educational leaders to devise a strategic plan with ongoing evaluation for the implementation of literacy coaching. The findings of the study suggest that reading achievement growth increases as schools move along the levels of the Literacy Coaching Activities Continuum. Therefore, the act of continuous evaluation is necessary spark educational leaders to reflect upon actual progress and subsequently realign current implementation. Specific goals and priorities must be set and all persons responsible, not just the literacy coach, must be held accountable for successful implementation.

This study may be extended to inform policy makers as well. In the era of limited funds for education, it is important to examine the effectiveness of the literacy coaching model to inform policy-maker’s decision regarding the return of investment. In addition, this type of examination may provide insight into whether additional support and funding for secondary school settings is necessary to continue the work of literacy coaches completed at the foundational level. Furthermore, since the literacy coaches’ role has evolved, policy makers must outline literacy coach certification and endorsement requirements based upon the most current research. In order to create or modify literacy initiatives, policy makers must not only consult the research, but they should also engage in dialogue with literacy coaches and other knowledgeable educators about literacy curriculum, instruction and assessment.

Overall, the results of this study may assist educational leaders with making data informed decisions regarding the implementation of the literacy coaching professional learning model. Results of this study may help educational leaders to see that an implementation of a district-wide, research-based curriculum in conjunction with more formal and intense professional opportunities yield higher reading achievement growth. The study indicates the need for school systems to purposefully move to the higher end of the Literacy Coaching Activities Continuum to maximize the opportunity to improve student achievement.
Recommendations for Further Research
Due to the ambiguous roles and responsibilities of literacy coaches and the various stages of literacy coaching implementation, one recommendation for further research is to examine the barriers associated with effective literacy coaching to develop practical solutions.
In addition, balanced literacy includes both the effective delivery of reading and writing strategies. Therefore, to present a more complete picture, additional studies must be conducted to determine the impact of literacy coaching on writing achievement.

This study examined the effectiveness of literacy coaching model at the elementary level. Future research would be beneficial in examining the effectiveness of the literacy coaching model at the middle and secondary level.

To assist with adjusting the literacy coaching model design, additional research must be completed on the frequency and specific types of coaching activities that positively influence student achievement.

Due to the debate concerning growth versus proficiency, it would be interesting to conduct a study examining literacy coaching and its impact on student reading growth results versus proficiency results.
Replication of this study is highly recommended to provide additional insight and support for the initial findings. The following modifications are suggested: (a) an increased sample size within multiple school districts across a larger geographic area (b) additional qualitative data from teachers in the form of open-ended questions to better understand the findings of the teacher perception survey data (c) additional quantitative data in the form of a perception survey to better understand the findings from the literacy coach focus group (d) additional data from classroom observations to gather information regarding specific instructional strategies that impact student achievement
Conclusion
The current state of accountability related to the Every Student Succeeds Act, (ESSA), requires school systems to offer quality literacy instruction and a focus on continued professional learning for teachers. Maximizing teachers’ ability to deliver effective literacy instruction to striving readers by providing students with consciously competent teachers who are able to meet diverse student needs leads to increased student achievement (Dennis, 2017). The literacy-coaching model embodies critical attributes of effective professional learning. Moreover, the development of professional learning opportunities that take into consideration teachers’ sense of efficacy influences their ability to effectively deliver instruction. To determine additional components of professional learning that are beneficial, the relationship between literacy coaching and student achievement deserves continual investigation. It is of unequivocal importance that educational leaders continuously evaluate the implementation of literacy coaching to ensure school systems are utilizing the model as a catalyst to propel school systems forward towards a path of equitable opportunities for increased literacy achievement for all students.

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