School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


James A. Swezey


Instructional coach, phenomenology, professional learning, student achievement


The purpose of this qualitative, transcendental phenomenology study was to describe middle school teachers’ perspectives of role of the instructional coach in student achievement at Pleasant Valley Middle School. Pleasant Valley Middle School is a pseudonym used to protect teachers and the instructional coach being used in the research. The instructional coach provided professional learning to meet instructional needs of teachers, helped teachers use formative assessments to plan for instruction and implement differentiation strategies, and modeled scientifically-based instructional strategies to help teachers integrate new learning. Individual interviews and a focus group were conducted with teachers who worked with the instructional coach. These teachers also completed journals of their experience implementing new instructional strategies recommended by the instructional coach to provide data. The interviews, journals, and focus group were designed to answer three research questions. What are teachers’ perceptions about how the instructional coach provided professional learning for teachers that impact classroom instruction and student achievement? What are teachers’ perceptions about the instructional coach using data to help teachers plan for instruction: formative assessments, differentiation, best practices, etc.? What are teachers’ perceptions on the effectiveness of the instructional coach observing lessons and providing feedback? Data analysis was achieved as outlined by Moustakas (1994) when transcendental phenomenological reductionism was conducted. The themes that emerged from the data were: (a) Current educational practices, (b) collaborating to integrate successful strategies, (c) identifying needs and validating themes, (d) modeling to provide support and build confidence, and (e) inspecting and what is expected.