The Economic Cost of Instructional Coaching
Knight, David Stephen
University of Kansas
Curriculum and Teaching
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School-based instructional coaching is one of the fastest growing approaches to professional development today; however, little is known about the impact on student achievement or about the cost (Darling-Hammond et al., 2009). This study reports the economic cost of instructional coaching (Knight, 2007), a model of professional development currently used to support in-service learning for teachers. First, the study describes a useable framework for measuring the cost of a coaching program; next, this cost framework is applied to three schools with instructional coaching programs during the 2009-10 school year. The average cost per teacher was found to range from approximately $3,260 to $5,220, while model developers suggest a cost of $2,298 per teacher. Consistent with the literature (Miles, et al., 2003) many costs were hidden from school-leaders and district budgets, in particular, teacher salaried work time. Cost adjustments were made for geographical region, inflation, coach attrition, annualization and fringe benefits of compensation. Strategies to lower the costs of coaching programs are also discussed. Because schools are making large investments in coaching programs, educational professionals need to know whether instructional coaching is cost-effective. By presenting a framework for measuring costs and reporting costs of specific programs, this study lays the groundwork for cost-effectiveness studies.
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