Cover: The Impact and Implementation of the Chicago Collaborative Teacher Professional Development Program

The Impact and Implementation of the Chicago Collaborative Teacher Professional Development Program

Published Jul 6, 2022

by Kata Mihaly, Isaac M. Opper, Lucas Greer

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Research Questions

  1. How was the Chicago Collaborative PD program implemented?
  2. Did the Chicago Collaborative PD program impact student achievement?

Teachers, like the students they serve, never stop learning. In-service teacher professional development (PD) gives educators opportunities to learn more about pedagogy and improve their own instruction methods to boost students' academic and social and emotional outcomes. Districts make a significant financial investment to provide teacher PD, and research on the impact of teacher PD on teacher instructional practices and student education outcomes has been mixed. In addition, there are only a few studies that examine the impact of teacher PD using rigorous empirical evaluation designs (such as randomized control trials) and consider PD across multiple contexts (public versus charter schools).

The authors evaluated the Chicago Collaborative, a teacher PD program that is aligned to Common Core Standards and implemented by Leading Educators, a national nonprofit organization that partners with districts and charter management organizations to help teachers develop the leadership skills that they need to successfully transition from leading students to leading their peers. The authors conducted a randomized control trial evaluation using data from 40 schools across three school districts in the Chicago area during the 2018–2019 and 2019–2020 school years. They examined how the Chicago Collaborative program was implemented and whether the program impacted student achievement. The authors found that the Chicago Collaborative was successfully delivered, despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic at the end of the research period in 2020. The authors also found robust evidence that the Chicago Collaborative increased student test scores.

Key Findings

  • Implementation varied across districts and schools, and Chicago Public Schools used a format closest to the original Leading Educators model.
  • Students attending schools that were randomly assigned to the Chicago Collaborative program had statistically significantly higher test scores compared with students attending schools that were randomly assigned to the control group.
  • Improvements in test score varied by subgroups, with larger effects in middle school. However, these differences were not statistically significant.
  • The Leading Educators Chicago Collaborative was effective at improving test scores and is a promising model to study on a larger scale.

Research conducted by

This study was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education Investing in Innovation (i3) and conducted by RAND Education and Labor.

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