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How Do School Districts Affect the Quality of Professional Development Provided to Teachers? Results from a National Sample of Districts


by Laura Desimone, Andrew C. Porter, Beatrice F. Birman, Michael S. Garet & Kwang Suk Yoon — 2002

This study examines the policy mechanisms and processes that districts can use to provide high-quality in-service professional development for teachers. The findings are based on a national probability sample of district professional development coordinators in districts that received federal funding from the Eisenhower Professional Development Program. We found that certain management/implementation strategies, such as aligning professional development to standards and assessments, continuous improvement efforts, and teacher involvement in planning, are associated with the provision of higher quality professional development for teachers. Characteristics of high-quality professional development are taken from the research literature and include active learning opportunities, duration, collective participation (e.g., participation of teachers from the same department, grade level, or school), and type of activity (e.g., traditional workshop vs. a more reform-oriented approach, such as teacher networks or study groups.) Thus, in the context of an evaluation of the nation’s largest investment in teachers’ professional development, this study provides empirical support, from a national probability sample of Eisenhower district coordinators, for the link between federal policies and strategies of support, implementation, and the quality of teachers’ professional development.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 104 Number 7, 2002, p. 1265-1312
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 10979, Date Accessed: 10/20/2017 6:56:09 AM

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About the Author
  • Laura Desimone
    American Institutes for Research
    E-mail Author
    LAURA DESIMONE is assistant professor of public policy and education at Vanderbilt University. Her specializations are education reform and program evaluation.
  • Andrew Porter
    University of Wisconsin, Madison
    E-mail Author
    ANDREW C. PORTER is director of the Wisconsin Center for Education Research and professor of educational psychology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Beatrice Birman
    American Institutes for Research
    E-mail Author
    BEATRICE F. BIRMAN is managing research scientist at the American Institutes for Research. Her specializations are education reform and program evaluation.
  • Michael Garet
    American Institutes for Research
    E-mail Author
    MICHAEL S. GARET is chief research scientist at the American Institutes for Research. His specializations are quantitative research methods, educational organizations, and education reform.
  • Kwang Yoon
    American Institutes for Research
    E-mail Author
    KWANG SUK YOON is senior research scientist at the American Institutes for Research. His specializations are motivation and lifelong learning, longitudinal research methods, and program evaluation.
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