Through the Looking Glass: Can Classroom Observation and Coaching Improve Teacher Performance in Brazil?

44 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2017 Last revised: 9 Nov 2017

See all articles by Barbara Bruns

Barbara Bruns

Center for Global Development

Leandro Costa

The World Bank

Nina Cunha

Stanford University

Date Written: July 31, 2017


This study conducted a randomized evaluation of a program in the Brazilian state of Ceara. The program was designed to improve teachers? effectiveness by increasing their professional interaction and sharing of classroom practice. In 175 of 350 secondary schools, teachers were provided with benchmarked feedback from classroom observations and access to expert coaching. Schools? uptake of the coaching program was high (85 percent). Over a single school year, the program increased teachers? time on instruction and student engagement and produced statistically significant gains in student learning on the Ceara state assessment and the national secondary school exit exam. Controlling for individual students? prior-year learning outcomes, schools exposed to the program had 0.05-0.09 standard deviation higher performance on the state test and 0.04-0.06 standard deviation higher scores on the national test. Implementation fidelity strongly boosted program impacts. In the 49 schools where the pedagogical coordinators achieved the highest certification at the end of the program, student scores were 0.13-0.23 standard deviation higher on the state test and 0.13-0.17 standard deviation higher on the national test. Coaching delivered by Skype kept the costs of the program low, $2.40 per student, and produced cost-effective impacts on learning in comparison with other rigorously evaluated teacher training interventions. The combination of classroom observation feedback and expert coaching appears to be a promising strategy for whole-school efforts to raise teacher effectiveness.

Keywords: Secondary Education, Educational Institutions & Facilities, Educational Populations, Education for Development (superceded), Effective Schools and Teachers, Education For All

Suggested Citation

Bruns, Barbara and Costa, Leandro and Cunha, Nina, Through the Looking Glass: Can Classroom Observation and Coaching Improve Teacher Performance in Brazil? (July 31, 2017). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 8156, Available at SSRN:

Barbara Bruns (Contact Author)

Center for Global Development

2055 L St. NW
5th floor
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Leandro Costa

The World Bank ( email )

SCN quadra 2 lote A
salas 701-704
Brasilia, 70753130

Nina Cunha

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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