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Making Adequate Yearly Progress: Teacher Learning in School-Based Accountability Contexts


by Carol Rinke & Linda Valli — 2010

Context: This study addresses recent changes in professional development policy, practice, and theory, in which professional development has increasingly become continual, collaborative, and school based. We consider both traditional notions of structure and content as well as context in developing a more complete understanding of professional development for today’s teachers.

Purpose: We conducted this study to understand more fully the delivery of school-based professional development within a high-stakes accountability context. We build on the accountability, professional development, and school context literature and expand the explanatory framework to include teacher experience with, and use of, school-based professional development in instructional practices.

Research Design: We conducted case studies of professional development in three elementary schools with varying levels of pressure to make adequate yearly progress. Although these three school sites operated within the same federal, state, and district policy contexts, the school contexts varied considerably. We focused in particular on professional development around short constructed responses, a form of paragraph writing required for the state exam.

Conclusions: We argue that school leadership, culture, and resources, as well as the structure and content of professional development, filter policy initiatives before they ultimately shape teacher learning experiences. Although high-stakes accountability policies increased the quantity of professional development, the quality of teacher learning opportunities depended on the context in which it was delivered.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 112 Number 3, 2010, p. 645-684
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 15771, Date Accessed: 10/22/2014 11:02:28 PM

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About the Author
  • Carol Rinke
    Gettysburg College
    E-mail Author
    CAROL RINKE is an assistant professor at Gettysburg College. A former urban teacher, her research interests include teacher education, recruitment and retention, and professional development. Her publications include “Understanding Teachers’ Careers” in Educational Research Review and “Exploring the Generation Gap in Urban Schools” in Education and Urban Society. She has a particular interest in science and math education.
  • Linda Valli
    University of Maryland, College Park
    LINDA VALLI is Jeffrey and David Mullan Professor of Teacher Education and Professional Development, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Maryland, College Park. Her research interests include teaching, learning to teach, and cultural diversity. In addition to four books, she has published over 50 book chapters and journal articles. Her most recent publication, with Robert Croninger, Marilyn Chambliss, Anna Graeber and Daria Buese, is Test Driven: High Stakes Accountability in Elementary Schools (New York: Teachers College Press, 2008).
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