Collaboration as a best practice in Tennessee elementary schools

Alison Barrett, Tennessee State University


With the renewal of the elementary and secondary education act (ESEA) there has been an increase in attempts to identify practices that improve student learning. This study looks at teacher collaboration as one of those practices. The researcher questioned teachers, administrators, and district personnel at 9 elementary schools in the state of Tennessee concerning their perceptions about the amount of time spent in structured collaboration and its importance to the success of the students in their schools. Schools were chosen based on student scores over a 3 year period on the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP). Seven high-performing elementary schools and 2 average-performing elementary schools were chosen. An effort was made to include schools with high numbers of economically disadvantaged students or English Language Learners. The average-performing schools served as controls. The questions asked came from a protocol developed by the National Center for Educational Accountability as part of its Just for the Kids study. Responses yielded the information that all 7 of the high-performing schools had some kind of mandated time for horizontal collaboration in place, although the frequency varied from daily common planning time to required meetings once every two weeks. The control schools did not have formal structures in place for collaboration. Teachers in the high-performing schools cited the time set aside for collaboration as a significant factor contributing to the success of their students.

Subject Area

Curriculum development|Elementary education

Recommended Citation

Alison Barrett, "Collaboration as a best practice in Tennessee elementary schools" (2006). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3234216.