How Do School Districts Affect the Quality of Professional Development Provided to Teachers? Results from a National Sample of Districts
by Laura M. 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 nationís largest investment in teachersí 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 teachersí professional development.
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