Educational Administration, Department of


Date of this Version



Houston, J. A. (2015). Coaching For Change: Amount of Instructional Coaching Support to Transfer Science Inquiry Skills from Professional Development to Classroom Practice. (Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Nebraska).


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctorate in Education, Major: Educational Administration, Under the Supervision of Professor Brent Cejda. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2015

Copyright (c) 2015 James A. Houston


Instructional coaching as a follow-up component to high-quality professional development experiences is being used to improve classroom instruction to meet the requirements of NCLB and promote organizational change. The purpose of this study was to determine the minimum number of coaching sessions necessary to translate new strategies and skills learned during a summer institute into classroom practice.

Teachers attended a 2-week summer institute focusing on the development of guided science inquiry as both an instructional strategy as well as a content. Teachers implemented a unit lasting approximately 6–8 weeks focusing on the newly learned guided inquiry strategies and skills, video-recorded their classroom instruction, and uploaded their videos to their instructional coach. Each coaching session was approximately 45 minutes long and was conducted with a strengths-based skills approach. Coaching sessions continued until coaching support was jointly terminated by the teacher–coach pair.

Findings suggest that teachers need a minimum of eight to nine coaching sessions to begin to effectively implement inquiry approaches into their instructional practice. These conclusions came from two sources of data: (a) teacher and coach inquiry teaching confidence measures conducted after each coaching session; and (b) independent coder assessment of teacher performance from two, 4-level inquiry observational rubrics ranging from non-inquiry to exemplary inquiry. The total amount of contact time between teacher and coach was observed from the coaching sessions. Teachers and coaches spent approximately 7 hours in one-to-one coaching sessions during unit implementation. However, these data suggest no meaningful relationship between contact time and teacher performance.

Adviser: Brent Cejda