Is it more effective or efficient to coach teachers in pairs or individually? A comparison of teacher and student outcomes and coaching costs

Elise T. Pas, Chelsea A. Kaihoi, Katrina J. Debnam, Catherine P. Bradshaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


A growing body of research documents the positive impacts of teacher coaching, but research contrasting the effectiveness of different coaching approaches is limited. This study contrasted paired coaching – delivered to two teachers simultaneously – with traditional coaching for individual in-service teachers. We examined the effects of these two approaches on observations of teachers' classroom management practices and student behavioral outcomes, relative to non-coached conditions, over the course of a single school year and at a 1-year follow-up. We also explored the relative time and cost efficiency of the two approaches. Two hundred fifty-two teachers from 18 elementary and middle schools participated in the randomized controlled trial. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to account for repeated measures nested within teachers and teachers within schools. Combined effects indicated improved global ratings by observers of teacher behavior management (∆ = 0.29) after a multiple comparison adjustment. Paired coaching was less effective than individual coaching at improving some observed student behaviors, although these did not remain significant after multiple comparison adjustments. Neither model demonstrated sustained effects after one year. Although the paired coaching was significantly more efficient for coach time, it represented just a modest overall cost savings per school. Results indicate a need for more research to identify feasible coaching approaches yielding sustainable effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)346-359
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of school psychology
StatePublished - Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Support for this article comes from the Institute of Education Sciences , U.S. Department of Education (Grant #s: R305A150221 and R324A110107 ) and the Spencer Foundation awarded to the University of Virginia (PI: C. Bradshaw). The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute, the U.S. Department of Education, or the Spencer Foundation. We would like to thank the study coaches, Sandy Rouiller, Lana Bates, Sheilah Myers, and Lauren Kaiser, as well as the research assistants who supported data collection. We also thank Yifan Zhu for her consultation on the cost estimates.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Society for the Study of School Psychology


  • Cost analysis
  • Culturally responsive classroom management
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • Sustainability of coaching impacts
  • Time logs

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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