Impact School Improvement Specialist Coaches Programme to Teachers

Education is seen as the basis in producing high quality human capital towards achieving a nations vision. In order to produce excellent human resources, comprehensive and practical strategies are needed. By tackling and strengthening the education system of a nation, it will later produce well equipped students who later contribute to the development of the nation by working productively.

Malaysia is facing shortage of highly skilled human resources. Cecilia Kok in her article ‘Tackling Human Resource Issues’ mentioned, according to World Bank’s previous report, only one quarter of Malaysia’s workforce is considered to be highly skilled. The majority of Malaysia’s workforce (around 75%) has low skills, clearly indicating that most Malaysians have not been adequately equipped to handle high-value work (2010). This is very much influenced by weaknesses in the education system. According to Melissa Norman, the managing director of Kelly Services Sdn Bhd,

”The growing mismatch between the supply of skills and the requirements of various industries in the local market is a reflection of the inadequacy of the country’s education system in producing the relevant human capital that can drive the country’s economy in this globalised, new world order,” (2010).

Her view is later strongly supported by Prof Dr Edmund Terence Gomez of University Malaya who revealed that, education is certainly an important element in human capital formation (2010). In order to produce well equipped human capital, the moulding process starts from school where the students learn general skills needed in services-sector driven economy (Kok, 2010). Thus, students’ development academically and practically throughout their school years is very important. It is measured based on students’ performance during exams as well as other form of assessments utilized by the school. The increasing or declining of students’ performance, picture their future prospective.

Teachers’ performance in school is one of the major factors lead to the increasing or declining of students’ performance. This view is strongly supported by Sanders and Rivers in their study entitled, ‘Cumulative and Residual Effects of Teachers on Future Student Academic Achievement’. They summarised that;

“…as teacher effectiveness increases, lower achieving students are the first to benefit. The top quintile of teachers facilitate appropriate to excellent gains for students of all achievement levels” (1996).

Hence, it is important to polish teachers’ pedagogical approach to ensure the success of content delivery in classroom. Consequently, students will comprehend the content to the utmost understanding and later will be able to apply what have been learned to the real life situations such as their working life.

Source: Sanders & Rivers Cumulative and Residual Effects on Future Student Academic Achievement; How the Best Performing School System Come out on Top (McKinsey&Co)

Background to the study

The government lead by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak has set Government Transformation Program (GTP) to achieve vision 2020 introduced by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammad. As one of the successors of the vision 2020, Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak has come out with six NKRAs (National Key Result Areas) which is strongly linked to his vision 1 Malaysia, People First, Performance Now. Datuk Seri Najib mentioned that ‘KPI/KRA were not mere acronyms as they offered clear measures designed to ensure that the government is continuously working to better serve the needs of Malaysians’ (2009). The Prime Minister outlined six priorities under NKRA;

Reducing Crime

Fighting Corruption

Widening access to quality and affordable education

Raising living standards of low income households

Improving infrastructure in rural areas

Improving urban public transformation


As highlighted in number 3; widening access to quality and affordable education it is intended to producing highly skilled human capital which is crucial in realizing the nation’s vision to be a well developed country in 2020. In comparison to other developed countries like Singapore and United States, Malaysia has a long way to achieve similar level due to shortage in quality of human capital.

Asian countries such as the Republic of Korea and Singapore have propelled themselves into the group of developed nations within a generation as a result of precise, deliberate and purposeful prioritisation of focus sectors for their economies, whilst concentrating on developing, upskilling and delivering the right talent required to drive growth in these specific sectors.

(10th Malaysia Plan, 2010)

According to a report by International Labour Organization in 2008, Malaysia possessed 28% of skilled labour force; consist of management, professional and other skilled occupations, 23% difference to the neighbour country Singapore with 51% of skilled labour force. Malaysia ranked below OECD (Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development) average percentage, 37.6%. It is unrealistic to success economically, without a highly skilled talent base.

Hence, there is a dire need to come out with strategies to refine Malaysian skills in workforce hence better outcomes will be produced. Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Bin Tun Abdul Razak, in his speech for introducing the motion to table the tenth Malaysia Plan mentioned,

“Competition for talent has intensified, many countries particularly developed nations, have adopted comprehensive and open policies in attracting the best talent including Malaysians. A skilled and knowledgeable workforce is the cutting edge of a nation’s competitiveness. In this regard, the Government will implement holistic measures to strengthen education and training systems, starting from early childhood to tertiary education. Aside from providing the best teaching and learning infrastructure, the government will also ensure that the quality of teachers and educators are of a high level” (2010).

Following the statement, it is crystal clear that in order to produce highly skilled workforce, education plays paramount role. This is where students’ outcomes become central. There is a great call for educators specifically teachers in schools to mould students to become well equipped talent base. Teachers’ quality has a very significant impact towards students’ outcomes. Only high performing teachers are able to produce increased students’ performance. Thus, the Education NKRA is intended to provide a starting point to improve student outcomes across Malaysia’s school system by strengthening teachers’ quality.

One of the Education NKRA’s priorities is High Performance School (HPS); known as schools with ethos, and a unique identity due to their remarkable achievements and performance. Students in these schools are striving to excel in all walks of life specifically education as a result of strong work cultures and strong international networks (NKRA, 2010). It is established to raise the standard of schools in Malaysia to be at par with the best schools all around the world.

To strengthen the nation’s mission to boost Malaysian education standard, initiatives were also proposed to help the low performing schools to improve. One of the initiatives is School Improvement Programme or also known as SIP, launched in April 2010. School Improvement Programme is a comprehensive effort to motivate low performing schools to increase their students’ performance. In addition, it is also intended to narrow the gap between High Performance Schools and low performing schools.

Subsequently, School Improvement Specialist Coaches (SISC) programme was introduced and conducted in 2011. It aimed at improving the performance of low-performing secondary and primary schools throughout the nation by surpassing the teachers’ teaching quality with the help of instructional coaches.

The Problem Statement

School Improvement Programme (SIP) was initiated to narrow the gap between High Performance Schools (HPS) and low performing schools. Education deputy director-general (Education Operations), Datuk Noor Rezan Bapoo Hashim revealed, there were many low performing schools in Band 6 and 7 when they went about ranking schools last year. There are 124 primary schools and 134 secondary schools nationwide listed as band 6&7 schools. These schools obtained the average grade eight and above for one of the core subjects such as English. According to Datuk Noor Rezan, many of the schools have different problems such as attendance, discipline, academic performance as well as low level of teachers’ motivation (2010).

SABAH semporna

(Semporna as a district with many schools in band 6&7

Reason:Semporna has the most number of secondary schools listed in band 6&7.

1.3 The Purpose of the Study

The central purpose of this study is to bring to light the impact of SIS coaches under in assisting schools in band 6&7 to improve their performance.

In this study on the impact of the Community Coaching Cohort Model to

improve teachers’ instructional literacy practices, a number of questions were

addressed. Namely:

1. What are participants’ perceptions and feelings about using this literacy

coaching model as a vehicle for professional development?

2. How does this literacy coaching model influence participants’ perceived

gains in knowledge and skills about literacy?

3. How are participants implementing what they learn in the literacy coaching

model within their classroom instruction?

4. What do participants observe with regard to student learning as a result of

participating in this literacy coaching model?

Specifically, this study will fulfill the following objectives:

to determine the effectiveness of School Improvement Specialist Coaches programme towards the students in low performing schools.

to identify the coached teacher’s improvement in pedagogical approach after the coaching sessions.

to identify School Improvement Specialist Coaches development in their coaching expertise.

1.4 Research Questions

This study will attempt to answer the following research questions:

(i) How does School Improvement Specialist Coaches Programme affect students’ performance in low performing schools?

(ii) Does the teacher being coached shows improvement in her/his pedagogical approach?

How does School Improvement Specialist Coaches describe the development of their coaching expertise?

1.5 Significance of the Study

The findings of this study will provide better insight into the progress of School Improvement Specialist Coaches (SISC) programme as well as giving prominent evidence on the effectiveness of the new programme under National Key Result Areas. This study is very significant in assisting policy makers to better see the decision they made, help teachers and coaches solve practical problems and provide other researchers with a deeper understanding of SISC programme (Kreswell, 2010).

It is also hoped that this study would initiate ongoing collaboration among teachers, specialist coaches and teachers to better improve pedagogical approach in addition to getting motivational and idea supports.

Finally, it is hoped that this proposed study would encourage further research to identify the students’ outcomes, teacher’s pedagogical approach improvement and specialist coaches’ development in their coaching expertise to better measure the effectiveness of SISC programme. The diagram below illustrates how SISC programme is carried out to observe the desired outcomes.

Framework of the Implementation of SISC Programme 2011

Development of training modules, Coaches job specifications, Term of Reference for Coaches; and SOP for SISC programme management

Master Coaches will train Coaches

Coaching for teachers in Category 6&7 in Band 6&7 schools carried out by Coaches

SIS Coaches reports progress and outcomes to Program Coordinator

End coaching process, transfer to professional learning sessions

Repeat coaching process

1.6 Scope of the Study

The study will be limited to an investigation of the impact of School Improvement Specialist Coaches Programme in affecting; students’ performance in low performing schools, performance of teacher being coached in their pedagogical approach and Specialist Coaches descriptions on their coaching skills.

1.7 Limitations of the Study

The current study has several limitations that may affect the findings of this study- sample population and time constraint. This study will be restricted to teachers and students in one out of six secondary schools in Semporna district listed in band 6&7. This is due to the time constraint faced by the researcher as the visits by specialist coaches for coaching session in each school conducted at the same time. This qualitative study requires the researcher to present at the coached teacher’s class together with the specialist coach assign for the school. Thus, the researcher will not be able to be at several schools and classes in a time.

The subject of the coaching session is also one of the possible restrictions of the programme. This study is limited to English subject seeing that English is a subject that needs to be forged ahead. Based on a report by Ministry of Education in 2010 on schools’ grade averages GPMP(Gred Purata Mata Pelajaran), all five Band 6&7 secondary schools in Semporna recorded more than 8 grade average/GPMP for English subject compare to only one school for Mathematics and History. Hence, there is an urgent need to improve the situation by putting emphasize on the subject.

The findings of this study cannot be generalized to other School Improvement Programme conducted worldwide as different coaching models are used in other places .

1.8 Definitions of Key Terms

The following terms are widely used in this study;

School Improvement Specialist Coaches Programme – A programme by Malaysia Ministry of Education aimed at improving performance of primary and secondary schools nationwide listed as band 6&7 schools.

Band 6&7 schools – Low performing schools score more than 8 for Gred Purata Mata Pelajaran (GPMP). The schools were ranked based on major exam results in 2010; Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Redah (UPSR) for primary schools and Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) for secondary schools.

School Improvement Specialist Coaches – Expert teachers who are assigned to coach under-performing teachers in Band 6&7 schools. They are also known as instructional coaches who offer classroom modeling, supportive feedback, and specific observations of individual teaching practices ( Kowal& Steiner, 2007).

Instructional Coaching – A teachers’ professional development strategy to improve instructional practices designed to enhance the quality and the effectiveness of teachers’ pedagogical approach and the students’ learning performance. According to Kowal and Steiner, Instructional Coaching is best described as


(Dr, this chapter is yet to be developed)

2.1 Conceptual Framework

Patricia H. Marino’s Lessons Learned from Experienced Specialist Teachers: Using the Coaching Model to Improve Pedagogic Practice (2010) came out with an improved conceptual framework known as Tri-level Review Structure guiding in constructing coherent literature review. Presented below is the conceptual framework utilized in the study;

First level – contains core concept, survey of definitions, and exploration of Coaching Model (CM) elements such as problems and benefits.

Second level – a CM praxis contains discussion of sociocultural implications, professional competence and basic CM forms followed by wider use application.

Third level – discussion of culture, pedagogy and organization as interdisciplinary variables with underlying context.

(p. 16)

In conjunction with the above framework, this proposed study come out with the following conceptual framework:

First level – includes core concept, the nature of Instructional Coaching, definitions and exploration of the….

Second Level – Includes discussion of Instructional Coaching’s potencies in assisting students in low-performing schools and its implications towards teachers’ pedagogical approaches.

Third level – The current trends of IC?Development of Coaching Expertise?

This adapted conceptual framework serves as an organizational tool for reviewing literature in a more structured way.

2.2 The Core Concept of Coaching

Coaching has long been proven to be very

What is Instructional Coaching?

The instructional coaching is a quality enhancement strategy for teachers’ professional development. It is an initiative to help teachers to improve pedagogical approach in order to assist low performing students.

Coaching was defined as confidential interaction through which two or more colleagues work together to engage in critical inquiry about current practice. A collaborative environment was defined as teachers engaging in help related exchanges, requesting or offering advice and assistance, sharing ideas and solving instructional problems.


This chapter will outline the research design for this study and the manner in which the research will be conducted. The decisions about the study population, procedures of conducting this study and instruments, as well as data analysis procedures will also be explained.

3.1 Research Design

This study on the impact of the School Improvement Specialist Coaches (SISC) programme towards teachers’ pedagogical approach enhancement and low-achiever students’ performance employs qualitative method. This qualitative study will document students’ performance progress in examinations throughout the year, as a result of teachers’ improvement in their pedagogical approach after the coaching sessions. This study utilizes observations, interviews and documents to answer the research questions below:

How does School Improvement Specialist Coaches Programme affect students’ performance in low performing schools?

(ii) Does the teacher being coached shows improvement in her/his pedagogical approach?

How does School Improvement Specialist Coaches describe the development of their coaching expertise?

3.2 Population and Sampling

The students and a teacher of a school from the district are chosen as the sampling for this qualitative study. The school is one of the six schools in Semporna district listed in band 6&7 schools.

3.2 Data Collection

3.2.1 Procedures and Instruments

Permission to conduct this research will be sought from the SISC Programme Secretariat, Unit Standard Kualiti Guru, Bahagian Pendidikan Guru. After this research proposal has been approved, letter will be sent to the secretariat to seek approval to conduct this research at the school chosen together with the research proposal. Then, letter will be sent to the school, to officially inform the administrator about the study and the dates that it would take place. The researcher will join the SIS coach during the visits to the school to collect needed data.

This study will be conducted beginning on March until August this respective year. The specialist coach assigned will visit the school three times; March/April, May and July, thus observation will be conducted during the visits. After each visits, the SIS coach will report the progress to the programme coordinator. The progress report documents will provide valid data to the researcher. In order to see whether students’ results after the visits prove improvement, the school’s examination result analysis will be sought. The teacher and students involved will be interviewed about their views on the SISC programme and students’ perceptions on their teacher’s teaching approach after the coaching session.

3.3 Analysis of Data

The data collected through observations, interviews and related documents such as examination results analysis will be analysed.

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