Robert C. Pianta's research while affiliated with University of Virginia and other places

Publications (342)

Article
Despite research demonstrating the importance of mathematics achievement to children's educational success and trajectories, many children enter kindergarten without the foundational mathematics skills needed to succeed (Garcia & Weiss, 2015). Children's executive function (EF) skills and their learning-related behaviors (Anthony & Ogg, 2020) may p...
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The My Teaching Partner-Secondary (MTPS) program demonstrated improvements in classroom interactions and student outcomes in secondary schools using one-on-one coaching between study staff and teachers. Despite promising results, the time, cost, and oversight from a university research team may pose barriers to adoption of coaching programs like MT...
Article
Experiencing large differences between pre-k and kindergarten classroom contexts may affect children's academic development as they start school. This study examined differences between classroom contexts in pre-k and kindergarten (teacher-child interactions, time on academic content, and academic rigor) and associations with literacy, language, an...
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Continuity of pre-k and kindergarten classroom experiences is a key area of interest for early childhood researchers interested in supporting public pre-k children's development over time. To advance the empirical evidence on this topic, this study examined whether differences in classroom experiences as children transition from pre-k to kindergart...
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The present study is a secondary analysis of a randomized control trial that had established the causal impact of MyTeachingPartner (MTP) coaching for improving the quality of teacher-student interactions. This study reports auxiliary analyses of the extent to which MTP was associated indirectly with classroom engagement and literacy outcomes for p...
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This study examined indirect associations of MyTeachingPartner coaching with pre‐K students’ (N = 1,570; 73% low income) school readiness, via improvements of teachers’ (N = 393; 47% Black; 41% Head Start) classroom interactions. Data were collected across 2008–2009 and 2009–2010 in 10 urban sites across the eastern United States. The number of com...
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Although we know that children who are more frequently absent from school do less well academically, we know little about whether absences matter for other domains of development and whether the timing of their absences matter. In order to address these gaps in knowledge, we examined the experiences of 1,131 kindergartners (64% Hispanic, 7% Black,...
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The present study examined differences in school readiness skills in the fall of kindergarten between pre-K attendees and non-attenders (n = 2581) among children in a large, diverse county. Also considered was the extent to which skills associated with pre-K enrollment varied as a function of children’s background characteristics and features of th...
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The present investigation examined the links between preschool teachers’ self-reported emotional exhaustion (n = 117) with the quality of their classroom interactions and the dosage and rigor of their instruction. Research Findings: Although teachers’ experience of emotional exhaustion was not associated with the dosage and rigor of instruction, mo...
Article
The present investigation examined the benefits of pre-K through the end of kindergarten for children from low-income homes who lived in a large and diverse county (n = 2,581) as well as factors associated with a reduction in benefits during the kindergarten year. Results revealed that pre-K graduates outperformed nonattenders in the areas of achie...
Article
Despite the significance of teacher–student relationships during the early years of school, questions remain about its long-term importance and whether the timing and variability of relationship quality matter. To address these gaps, data from the NICHD SECCYD were used to determine whether teacher-student relationships between kindergarten and six...
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Extensive reforms have been made to initial teacher education (ITE) to improve “teacher quality” without any evidence to support the claim that beginning teachers are less competent than experienced teachers. This study adds to the evidence base by investigating associations between teachers’ years of experience and teaching quality. Results show n...
Article
Heterogeneity in treatment effects of MyTeachingPartner (MTP), a professional development coaching intervention focused on improving teacher–student interactions, was examined for 1407 4-year-old preschoolers who were enrolled in classrooms that served children between the ages of 3 and 5. On average, there were no consistent impacts of MTP coachin...
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Much has been established about the short-term consequences of missing school, yet little is known about the longer-term outcomes of absenteeism. To address this gap in knowledge, the current study considered the consequences of school absenteeism between kindergarten and eighth grade for the behavioral, economic, and educational outcomes of young...
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The present study considered the ways in which interactional quality in the classroom and teacher–child relationships independently and synergistically shaped the early academic, social‐behavioral, and executive function outcomes of 1,498 preschoolers from low‐income families from a large, culturally, and linguistically diverse county. The findings...
Chapter
Supportive and sensitive teacher-student interactions and relationships are critical for children’s academic and social success. When a teacher establishes a warm and responsive emotional connection with a student, this increases the student’s capacity to take advantage of learning opportunities. Teacher-student relationships form over time through...
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The present study reports associations between features of directly observed classroom processes and school readiness skills across the academic year for 1498 children enrolled in publicly funded pre-K programs in a large and diverse county. In models adjusting for a range of child and family covariates, evidence was detected for the separate, and...
Article
Observational assessment is being used on a large scale to evaluate the quality of interactions between teachers and children in classroom environments. When one performs observations at scale, features of the protocol such as the scheduling of observations can potentially influence observed scores. In this study interactions were observed for 88 t...
Article
Areas of misalignment between children's experiences in preschool and kindergarten are increasingly viewed as contributing to the fade-out of preschool effects. The current study examined alignment and misalignment of classroom experiences across the transition from public pre-k into kindergarten. As part of a longitudinal cohort study, we examined...
Article
This study used a prospective longitudinal sample of American children from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (n = 1326) to consider the educational, social, and behavioral correlates of absenteeism. More specifically, this study examined: (a) the extent to which absenteeism...
Article
Teachers' initial level of interactional quality at the beginning of a school year (baseline) was examined as a potential moderating factor in the relation between change in interactional quality and change in children's school readiness skills throughout an academic year. Participants were 269 preschool teachers and 1179 children from low-income b...
Article
An increasingly robust science of classroom processes identifies teacher-student interactions as a key asset for improving student learning and development. Observational methods to assess interactions are proving useful in both research and application, used as the basis for professional development models, specifically coaching, that improve both...
Article
This investigation considered the short-term benefits of early childhood education participation at age 3 for 1,213 children from low-income families living in a large and linguistically diverse county. Although no benefits emerged for executive functioning, children who participated in formal early childhood programs at the age of 3 entered prekin...
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As research continues to show the benefits of high-quality early childhood education, it is important to ensure that measures are available to assess the full impacts of these programs for student outcomes. Many achievement measures and observational measures exist, but there is a need for measures of children’s experiences at the preschool level....
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Data from 1,407 preschoolers were used to examine the implications of classroom age composition for the early learning and development of 4-year-olds in classrooms with 3- and 5-year-olds also in attendance. Results suggest that a greater number of younger classmates did not detract from 4-year-olds’ language development, literacy performance, or i...
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The current study focuses on the cumulative effect on children’s early learning outcomes of the quality of teacher–child interactions over multiple years during early childhood. Using propensity score matching to minimize selection bias, we compared the academic outcomes of children who experienced consistently high-quality or consistently low-qual...
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By tracking longitudinally a sample of American children (n = 1,097), this study examined the extent to which enrollment in private schools between kindergarten and ninth grade was related to students’ academic, social, psychological, and attainment outcomes at age 15. Results from this investigation revealed that in unadjusted models, children wit...
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Research Findings: The present study used data from 117 publicly funded preschool classrooms within a large, diverse, suburban county to describe teacher practices and child engagement along with classroom activity settings and children’s exposure to instructional content. Practice or Policy: Results from this investigation revealed that children s...
Article
Heterogeneity in treatment effects of MyTeachingPartner (MTP), a professional development coaching intervention focused on improving teacher-student interactions, was examined for 1,407 4-year-old preschoolers who were enrolled in classrooms that served children between the ages of 3 and 5. On average, there were no consistent impacts of MTP coachi...
Article
A person-oriented approach examined the extent to which patterns of school readiness across social and cognitive domains in 944 typically-developing 54-month-old children forecast academic achievement, social-emotional development, risk taking, and executive functioning at age 15. Prior work identified six distinct profiles of school readiness at 5...
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Data from 332 teachers who participated in the National Center for Research on Early Childhood Education study were used to examine the implications of classroom age diversity in preschool programs for teacher interactions with students in areas of instructional and emotional support, and classroom organization. Teachers in early childhood classroo...
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Data from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (N = 1,307) were used to estimate the additive and multiplicative benefits of high-quality child care between birth to 54 months of age and high-quality elementary school education between first and fifth grade. Results indicated t...
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This study examined how overall quality and within-day consistency in fifth graders’ teacher-student interactions related to feelings about, engagement, and academic performance in school. Participants were 956 children in a national study. Students who experienced higher quality interactions reported more positive feelings about school, were more...
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The present study examines the extent to which participation in a 14-week professional development course designed to improve teacher–child interactions in the classroom moderated the relation between teacher-reported job stress and gains in observed teacher–child interaction quality from the beginning to the end of the intervention. Participants w...
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Long-term evaluations of preschool programs have yielded mixed findings regarding the persistence of preschool effects. Data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Kindergarten Cohort of 1998 (n = 15,070) were used to estimate the extent to which the academic benefits of preschool persist as a function of the quality of the elementary school c...
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Early childhood teacher preparation programs play a critical role in preparing teachers to work with young children, yet the field knows relatively little about how these programs carry out this important function. The culminating classroom-based experience, generally termed “student teaching”, is an important component in teacher preparation. The...
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Research Findings: This article examines whether time spent in free choice and teacher-directed activity settings within preschool was associated with indicators of school readiness and the extent to which children’s learning was associated with the quality of teachers’ behavior within these settings. Participants were 325 preschool teachers and 1,...
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Research Findings: Effects on children’s school readiness were evaluated for 2 interventions focused on improving teacher–student interactions (coursework, coaching) implemented sequentially across 2 years. Teachers from public prekindergarten programs in 10 locations were assigned randomly to treatment or control conditions in each year. Children’...
Chapter
In the United States, there is a large and growing movement to promote school readiness by investing in the education and care of young children before they enter school. Yet, this investment will only lead to lasting change if early childhood interventions target the skills that matter most for children's short- and long-term development. This cha...
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In the My Teaching Partner(MTP) program, coaches engage teachers in six to nine coaching cycles across a school year. Guided by the program's theory, coaches help teachers reflect on the emotional, organizational, and instructional features of classrooms. MTP was originally developed for Pre-K and early elementary classrooms (MTP Pre-K), but the cu...
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This study built on prior research regarding the effectiveness of the National Center for Research in Early Childhood Education (NCRECE) course by exploring the individual course components. Core aspects of course engagement and performance were described and examined in relation to improvements in the observed quality of teacher–child interactions...
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Preschool teachers were randomly assigned to participate in two professional development interventions over two phases, both designed to improve their interactions with children: the NCRECE college course (N = 169) and MyTeachingPartner video-based coaching (N = 202). Using Berkel et al.’s (2011) integrated model of intervention implementation, we...
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Black students are issued school discipline sanctions at rates higher than members of other racial and ethnic groups, underscoring the need for professional development that addresses this gap. In 86 secondary school classrooms, a randomized controlled trial examined the effects of a 2-year teacher-coaching program, My Teaching Partner Secondary (M...
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El presente artículo resume tendencias recientes en la educación durante la primera infancia y con respecto al papel de las interacciones educadora-niño; además, entrega mayores detalles sobre un marco específico que ha ayudado a que este campo de estudio avance en su comprensión de este componente clave. La motivación para realizar este resumen su...
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Multilevel mediation analyses test whether students' mid-year reports of classroom experiences of autonomy, relatedness with peers, and competence mediate associations between early in the school year emotionally-supportive teacher-student interactions (independently observed) and student-reported academic year changes in mastery motivation and beh...
Chapter
This chapter reviews theory and empirical evidence linking developmental psychopathology (methods, models, and understandings) with education science, practice, and policy around a particular focus on proximal processes in classrooms related to interactions with teachers. More fully exploiting the intersection of schooling and development remains i...
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Parents, professionals, and policymakers agree that quality is crucial for early education. But precise, consistent, and valid definitions of quality have been elusive. In this article, Robert Pianta, Jason Downer, and Bridget Hamre tackle the questions of how to define quality, how to measure it, and how to ensure that more children experience it....
Article
An increasingly robust science of classroom processes identifies teacher–student interactions as a key asset for improving student learning and development. Observational methods to assess interactions are proving useful in both research and application, used as the basis for professional development models, specifically coaching, that improve both...
Article
The present study examines the extent to which the association between school readiness skills and preschool classroom quality is higher in classrooms in which quality is above a threshold than when quality is below that threshold. A sample of 222 teachers and 875 children participated in a large, multi-site study. Classroom quality was defined as...
Chapter
This chapter presents a study in which data were simulated to investigate the effects on student learning of two interventions: professional development (PD) and student-teacher assignment. The study describes the assumptions made as the basis of the simulation. The costs of teacher professional development are not trivial and provide a context for...
Chapter
School district administrators and state officials are faced with the challenging task of creating teacher evaluation systems that distribute teachers across a continuum of effectiveness and provide comprehensive and actionable information. This chapter seeks to add clarity on the issues by using data from value-added and observational assessments...
Article
The current study examines the associations between teachers' beliefs and knowledge and children's learning during the prekindergarten year. This study describes the degree to which 262 prekindergarten teachers' beliefs and knowledge regarding children's language and literacy skills are related to learning over the prekindergarten year. Teacher bel...
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My Teaching Partner-Secondary (MTP-S) is a web-mediated coaching intervention, which an initial randomized trial, primarily in middle schools, found to improve teacher-student interactions and student achievement. Given the dearth of validated teacher development interventions showing consistent effects, we sought to both replicate and extend these...
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Teacher preparation programs have both a desire and a responsibility to demonstrate with affirmative evidence that teacher education makes a difference in PreK-12 student learning. Program faculty need good data to make decisions about the progress of students, whom to recommend for state licensure, and how to improve teacher education. This articl...
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Contemporary education reforms focus on assessing teachers' performance and developing selection mechanisms for hiring effective teachers. Tools that enable the prediction of teachers' classroom performance promote schools' ability to hire teachers more likely to be successful in the classroom. In addition, these assessment tools can be used for te...
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Contemporary education reforms focus on assessing teachers’ performance and developing selection mechanisms for hiring effective teachers. Tools that enable the prediction of teachers’ classroom performance promote schools’ ability to hire teachers more likely to be successful in the classroom. In addition, these assessment tools can be used for te...
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The present study examined the pattern of associations over time between the quality of observed interactions and exposure to features of an effective coaching model for 170 preschool teachers enrolled in a study investigating professional development impacts. Using a treatment-on-the-treated approach, teachers exposed to a greater number of cycles...
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Observational assessnient is being used on a large scale to evaluate the quality Of interactions between teachers and children in classroom environments. When one performs observations at scale, features of the protocol such as the seheduling of Observations can potentially influenee observed scores. In this study interactions were observed for 88...
Article
With research findings indicating positive associations between teacher-child interaction quality and children's development and learning, many professional development efforts now focus on improving the ways in which teachers interact with children. Previous work found that MyTeachingPartner (MTP), a web-mediated coaching intervention, improved te...
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Background/Context Teacher evaluation is a major policy initiative intended to improve the quality of classroom instruction. This study documents a fundamental challenge to using teacher evaluation to improve teaching and learning. Purpose Using an observation instrument (CLASS-S), we evaluate evidence on different aspects of instructional practic...
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Research Findings: The growing body of literature demonstrating the importance of quality interactions with caregivers to infant development coupled with the increasing number of infants spending time in classroom settings highlights the need for a measure of interpersonal relationships between infants and caregivers. This article introduces a new...
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Early childhood education programs’ quality ratings are the key output of Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS), yet there is little empirical evidence as to whether these ratings relate to child outcomes. The present study examines associations between state-funded targeted pre-kindergarten programs’ ratings in Virginia's QRIS and children...
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In the majority of states using Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) to improve children's school readiness, the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale-Revised (ECERS-R) is a core assessment of preschool program quality and is central to QRIS metrics and incentive structures. The present study utilizes nationally representative data fr...
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Student behavioral engagement is a key condition supporting academic achievement, yet student disengagement in middle and high schools is all too common. The current study used a randomized controlled design to test the efficacy of the My Teaching Partner-Secondary program to increase behavioral engagement. The program offers teachers personalized...
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Policy makers, advocates, and school administrators are increasingly seeking recommendations for educational reform that are backed by strong empirical support. For many, a randomized controlled trial is a "gold standard" of rigorous evidence. The current study contributes to the growing, yet still sparse published results of trials that focus on i...
Chapter
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This chapter commences with a review of research on the nature of rater thinking and observer training. It describes the studies, observation protocols, data sets, and our analytic approach. Next, the chapter analyzes calibration and certification scores from the Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) project and Understanding Teaching Quality (UTQ)...
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Valid measurement of how students’ experiences in secondary school classrooms lead to gains in learning requires a developmental approach to conceptualizing classroom processes. This article presents a potentially useful theoretical model, the Teaching Through Interactions framework, which posits teacher-student interactions as a central driver for...
Chapter
The vast majority of policy and programmatic efforts in early care and education that focus on improving children's school readiness call attention primarily to a set of skills and competencies demonstrated by children in various ways. Years of measuring, conceptualizing, and improving these skills have reified a sense that young children's compete...
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This study evaluates a model for considering domain-general and domain-specific associations between teacher-child interactions and children's development, using a bifactor analytic strategy. Among a sample of 325 early childhood classrooms there was evidence for both general elements of teacher-child interaction (responsive teaching) and domain-sp...
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The present study examined the extent to which preschool classroom supports—relational support (RS) and instructional support (IS)—are associated with children's language development and whether these associations vary as a function of children's language ability. The language skills of 360 children within 95 classrooms were assessed using an expre...
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This study examined the quality of preschool classroom experiences through the combination of children's individual patterns of engagement and teachers' classroom-level interactions in predicting children's gains in school readiness. A sample of 605 children and 309 teachers participated. The quality of children's engagement and teacher interaction...
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This exploratory study examined the extent to which the effectiveness of instructional interactions varies among classroom social settings (i.e., large group, free choice, meals, and routines), learning activities (i.e., shared reading, literacy, math, science, social studies, and esthetics), or their combination. Participants were 314 preschool te...