Walden University and Tacoma Public Schools Announce Results of Linking Teacher Learning to Student Success

As school districts and states across the country seek practical and meaningful ways to measure teacher performance in the classroom, new findings from a previous study confirm the connection between graduates of Walden University's M.S. in Education program with a specialization in Elementary Reading and Literacy and student outcomes in reading fluency.

Linking Teacher Learning to Student Success, a study conducted by Arroyo Research Services in conjunction with Tacoma Public Schools, compared the reading fluency of students taught by Walden-master's educated teachers with those students taught by non-Walden-master's educated teachers. The study, sponsored by Walden University, evaluated three years of data, including test scores involving 35 teachers and 712 students.

"Our district was very interested in supporting the researchers at Walden University who contracted with Arroyo Research Services to study the link between Walden-master's educated reading teachers and the effects on increasing student performance," said Pat Cummings, director of Research and Planning with Tacoma Public Schools. "The study yielded a number of positive findings in early literacy performance of students being taught by Walden graduates. The research appears to help shed light on the link between good teaching and student learning, especially in the area of acquiring skills in early reading."

Key findings in the study showed:

* Students of Walden teachers had gains in reading fluency that were on average 4.8 words per minute, or 14% greater, than students of non-Walden-master's educated teachers.

* Gains were largest in first grade, where students of Walden teachers averaged 5.4 more words per minute than students of the non-Walden-master's educated teachers.

The positive impact Walden teachers had on student reading fluency translated into more efficient use of instructional time. The findings suggest the cumulative effect of having a Walden teacher in Grades 1 to 5 would show a combined gain in reading fluency of 11.6 words per minute. When translated into weeks of instruction, this gain is equivalent to a total of 10.6 weeks, or one-third of an entire school year.

"Student success is the ultimate demonstration of effective teaching, and the ultimate goal of Walden's education programs is fostering effective teachers. We believe studies such as this one illustrate the difference a Walden master's degree can make and the impact that Walden-educated teachers have in the classroom," said Victoria Reid, vice president of The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership at Walden University, which was named in honor of Richard W. Riley, former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education and a longtime advocate for teaching excellence.

Details of Linking Teacher Learning to Student Success are at www.WaldenU.edu/tacoma.