Our Work

Our Work

Research to Further the Profession

NNSTOY is engaged in a variety of research projects that are closely aligned to our Strategic Plan.  We partner with other organizations in undertaking these studies, which will be jointly published.  We have built our research agenda around five structures that we see as missing from teaching, and present in other professions.  The graphic below details these and a description of several of these studies is provided.

NNSTOY - Research

Teaching in a Digital Age:  in partnership with Digital Promise and the Center for Educator Effectiveness at Pearson, we are working to

Better understand the roles and activities of educators—teachers and administrators—in digitally-rich learning environments to optimize student learning.

The study includes two parts.

  1. Qualitative:  Site visits to schools currently using innovative instructional technology to observe teachers and students using technology, conduct focus groups with educators, and interview administrators.
  2. Quantitative:  we will follow approximately 300 teachers over a year and a half to study the technology-enabled instructional strategies teachers use and their association with student and teacher outcomes.

The study goals include:

  1. Produce clear descriptions of teacher and other educational staff behaviors and instructional strategies enabled by technology that they believe to be effective at improving student engagement, student technology usage, and, ultimately, student achievement.
  2. Define the role and behaviors of effective administrators in optimizing the use of technology for learning in their schools.
  3. Determine which instructional strategies specific to a digitally rich classroom are most associated with positive student and teacher outcomes, such as student achievement, student engagement, student technology use, teacher engagement, and teacher satisfaction with the school culture/work environment.
  4. Recommend strategies that are most associated with positive outcomes.

Digital System for Observation of Real-Time Teaching (DSORT):  using a validated methodology that has been applied to observation of behavior in other venues, NNSTOY and Pearson will study the efficacy of utilizing a digital card sorting protocol to teacher observation.  We believe that use of this methodology in scoring of observed performances will result in richer and actionable feedback for teachers and administrators, and, may be more reliable and efficient than standard observational protocols currently in use by many districts and schools.

This study has several phases:

  • Development of the behavioral statements for classroom observation using the revised InTASC standards as a foundation
  • Creation of the card sort protocol for describing performance of each behavioral construct in the classroom
  • Create teaching dimensions using education experts to implement a research-based process  for grouping the behavioral statements
  • Pilot test the D-SORT protocol using videotaped classroom performances on which  scores using other validated protocols have been determined
  • Field test instrument with actual classroom performances
  • Correlate D-SORT scores with student achievement outcomes

Study goals:

  1. Determine the efficacy of using a digital sorting process that involves ranking, rather than rating performances, for assessing educator effectiveness
  2. Produce richer actionable feedback for teachers and administrators
  3. Develop a more objective and reliable observation scoring process
  4. Determine if use of this methodology results in time-savings for observers

Continuums of Practice for Teaching:  in partnership with the Center for Educator Effectiveness at Pearson, we are conducting a study of continuums of professional practice.  This study has two parts:

  • Literature review:  we will examine the models and impacts of career continuums on several factors in other fields; these factors include:  job satisfaction, employee retention, impact on production
  • Case studies:  we will research existing continuums in teaching and select at least 3 for further examination through case studies
  • Recommendations:  the results of the two activities above will determine a set of recommendations for components of effective continuum models in teaching; a second study will allow us to pilot these models in actual classrooms

The study goals are to:

  1. Identify components of continuum models in other fields that would appear to be adaptable for teaching settings
  2. Identify components or full continuum models currently used in teaching that appear to be effective
  3. Make recommendations for components of models that could be incorporated into teaching continuums that have potential to increase teacher retention, job satisfaction, and student learning

Evaluation of Teaching Practice: Ranking, Resources, and the Right Stuff: in partnership with the Center for Educator Effectiveness at Pearson, HumRRO, Clowder Associates, and Doug Harris (his title here at Tulane University), we are researching a two-tiered “triage” model of evaluation, in which all teachers in a given school are evaluated using streamlined multiple measures, and, teachers are divided into two groups:  those who appear to perform effectively based on this  “screener” and those who perform less effectively.  The effective group moves forward to professional learning plans, while the less effective group goes into more intensive evaluation.

Study goals include:

  • Develop a tiered teacher evaluation system with educator input that is feasible to implement and reduces the burden of data collection on evaluators
  • Test the system’s accuracy in classifying teachers’ effectiveness
  • Evaluate the impact of the system on promoting teachers’ professional growth, satisfaction with their work, and retention of effective teachers
  • Evaluate the system’s impact on student outcomes, including perceptions of their teacher’s effectiveness; and learning/achievement

Programs to Impact Policy, Practice, or Advocacy

NNSTOY is examining a number of opportunities to partner with other organizations in a variety of areas; these include:

  • Diversifying the teaching force
  • Increasing public understanding of the common core state standards
  • Developing an online educator network to address key education issues
  • Examining the issues around key pieces of legislation
  • More fully engaging educators in the evaluation process
  • Survey of teacher preparation experience


Review all of NNSTOY's reports and publications here.


Coming soon:

Creating Sustainable Career Trajectories: A 21st Century Imperative

Maintaining the most motivated, highly qualified teachers is an ongoing challenge for America’s schools. In a report to be released December 12 by Center for Educator Effectiveness and NNSTOY, a new vision of teacher career pathways for the 21st century is being offered that holds promise for recruiting and retaining excellent teachers who further student learning.


Available now:

Re-Imagining Teaching: Five Structures to Transform the Profession

NNSTOY's first white paper.

Teacher preparation, evaluation, and the characteristics of effective teaching are at the center of contemporary education research and policymaking. NNSTOY believes that five key structures—found in almost every other field—have the potential to transform teaching into a profession that fosters continuous improvement, high expectations, and  shared accountability.


Watch the panel discussion at the white paper release event:


Organization Overview

Read a 4-page overview of NNSTOY.



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