Professional Learning and Professional Development in the Middle Grades

Research Summary

By: Dana L. Bickmore


Practitioners, policymakers, and researchers have touted the importance of improving educator quality as fundamental to enhancing school and student outcomes (Darling-Hammond, Wei, Andree, Richardson, & Orphanos, 2009; Elmore, 2004). Improving practicing educator knowledge, skills, and dispositions related to curriculum, instruction, and assessment is codified in federal legislation (No Child Left Behind [NCLB], 2001) and a key tenet of middle grades education (Bickmore, 2013; Jackson & Davis, 2000; National Middle School Association [NMSA], 2010). Although there is considerable advocacy for improving teacher capacity, the research literature indicating the effectiveness of structured professional development for practicing educators is not robust (Yoon, Duncan, Lee, Scarloss, & Shapley, 2007). This review will highlight theory and research findings outlining quality professional development and the relationship between these research findings and tenets of middle level education as described in This We Believe: Keys to Educating Young Adolescents (NMSA, 2010).

Tenets of This We Believe addressed:

  • Leaders demonstrate courage and collaboration.
  • Ongoing professional development reflects best educational practices.
  • Organizational structures foster purposeful learning and meaningful relationships.

Improving educator capacity has often been narrowly defined in terms such as in-service, training, staff development, and professional development. These terms suggest formal structured learning. Specifically, formal learning is intentionally structured by the organization to improve the employee’s capacity to do his or her work (Marsick & Watkins, 2001). Marsick and Watkins (2001), however, suggest adults also learn through informal and incidental learning. Informal learning results from work related activities or structures that were not primarily designed by the organization to increase individual capacity but do so as a consequence of being involved in the activity. Informal learning may also be some type of intentional, self-directed activity by an individual meant to increase performance. Informal learning might include learning that occurred as a byproduct of grade level team meetings or as a teacher decides to watch a video about a new teaching strategy. Incidental learning is often taken for granted or tacit learning that even the teacher may not cognitively recognize as learning. Teacher reflection on his or her performance, such as a teacher’s reflection on a poor lesson that results in changes to future teaching, is an example of incidental learning. In short, all educators experience professional learning in the workplace regardless of the intentionality of the organization to foster such learning or even the intentionality of the individual to learn. Developing high quality learning experiences for educators that increase student learning, however, means understanding how adults learn in conjunction with intentionally developed professional supports that create positive changes in educator practice in an environment that supports formal, informal, and incidental learning (Drago-Severson, 2012; Zepeda, 2012b).

Theories and the current research literature related to how adults learn form the foundation for high quality professional development. As with young adolescents, adults have unique learning needs that are important in fostering educator development. Knowles (1980), outlined four key differences between what he called pedagogy (the art and science of teaching children) and andragogy (the art and science of teaching adults):

  1. Adults move from dependency to more self-directed problem solving as they mature.
  2. Adults accumulate a greater and growing reservoir of experiences and define themselves based on their experiences.
  3. Adults’ readiness to learn is based on life phases (early, middle, and later adulthood) and social roles (work role, family role–son, mother, and father, community role, etc.).
  4. Adults change from future-oriented to a more immediate need to apply knowledge to deal with life and work issues and thus are problem-based, performance-centered learners.

Although theorists have questioned some of Knowles’ assumptions, there is a general consensus that valuing adult identity and experiences is important for adult learning (Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner, 2007). Valuing adult experiences translates to (1) engaging adults in the development of their own learning activities, (2) developing activities that encourage dialogue and sharing of experience, (3) supporting and teaching reflective practices that allow adults to adjust and grow from new and potential disruptive experiences, and (4) providing experiences that allow adults to more immediately use learning to deal with life or work issues (Drago-Severson, 2009; Knowles, 1984; Merriam et al., 2007).

Models and Standards of Professional Development

Educational researchers and professional development advocacy groups have applied the principles of adult learning to develop models that can guide high quality professional learning in schools. Guskey and Sparks (2002) proposed a model that outlined the relationship between professional development and improved student learning. Although a host of variables intervene between educator professional learning activities and student learning, Guskey and Sparks noted three major characteristics of professional development that have a direct influence on educator learning, which indirectly leads to student outcomes. These characteristics are: (1) the context in which the learning occurs, (2) the content of the professional learning activity, and (3) the processes used to impart the content. These characteristics form the where, what, and how of professional development. Researchers have indicated attending to these characteristics positively impacts teacher learning and subsequent student outcomes (Blank, de las Alas, & Smith, 2008; Garet, 2008; Garet, Porter, Desimone, Birman, & Yoon, 2001; Sanders, Goldenberg, & Gallimore, 2009; Wei, Darling-Hammond, Andree, Richardson, & Orphanos, 2009).

Learning Forward (formally the National Staff Development Council), an organization focused on effective educator professional learning, adopted and expanded the Guskey and Sparks (2002) model by developing a set of standards for high quality educator learning (Learning Forward, 2011; National Staff Development Council, 2001). When planning high quality professional learning for educators, administrators and teachers should begin by examining the context of the school. Understanding school context is best done by analyzing school and student data to determine student learning needs and then determining how to enhance teacher capacity to meet these needs, being certain to align educator learning to accepted subject and curricular standards (Guskey, 2002; Learning Forward, 2011). Based on the school context and standards, the content–what educators will learn–is then selected. Finally, those involved in planning professional learning should determine the processes to be used for teacher learning. Processes might include coaching, workshops, as well as a variety of other activities and changes to the school operation to promote faculty formal, informal, and incidental learning.

Research Connecting Professional Development to Teacher Change and Student Outcomes

Much of the research examining how professional development influences teacher practices and subsequent student outcomes has focused on the content and process of effective professional learning. Specifically, researchers have noted that professional development directly related to a teacher’s assigned subject area has a greater impact on teacher and student learning than general pedagogical topics (Blank et al., 2008; Garet, Birman, Porter, Desimone, & Herman, 1999; Van Driel & Berry, 2012). Kennedy (1998), in a review of professional development research involving math and science teachers, concluded that professional development specifically designed to increase teachers’ knowledge of the subject and curriculum, as well as how students learned the subject, had a greater effect on student outcomes than programs about general teaching pedagogy. In alignment with adult learning theory, content that has relevance and immediate application to educator practices seems to be important to the implementation of information and skills gained within the professional development processes.

Research findings associated with the processes used in the delivery of professional development suggest several important features associated with educator learning. In a seminal professional development research study using national teacher survey data, Garet et al. (1999) determined that certain professional development activity features had a positive impact on teacher learning. Workshops, conferences, and short-term training–traditional professional development activities–had less impact on teacher learning than reform activities such as study groups and mentoring. Duration and span of the professional development activities were also important; with activities lasting longer and occurring over time having a greater effect on teacher learning. Activities that were subject based, involved groups of teachers, and required teachers to be active participants in their own learning, were more effective in teacher learning than general topics taught in isolation with little active teacher engagement. Last, activities that were consistent with individual teacher goals and aligned with other initiatives and standards were more effective in teacher development. Other research has confirmed that these process features positively impact teacher learning (Domitrovich et al., 2009; Garet et al., 2008; Joyce & Showers, 1981; Penuel, Fishman, Yamaguchi, & Gallagher, 2007). In early professional development research Joyce and Showers (1981) provided some insight on how duration, span, and active engagement affect teacher learning. Their research indicated that short duration workshops and training were not effective because these processes did not allow teachers the time and feedback in real settings necessary to change practice. Once again, these finding are consistent with adult learning in that these process elements value adult identity and experience, engage adults in the development of their own learning activities, allow dialogue and sharing of experience, provide time for teacher reflective practices, and provide more authentic and immediate use of learning.

When correlating teacher professional development with student outcomes the research is less conclusive. Yoon and associates (2007), in reviewing experimental professional development studies in which teachers were randomly assigned to various professional development programs, uncovered only nine studies that met this rigorous research strategy. The only professional development process feature that had an impact on student learning within these studies was time, with a minimum of 14 hours of contact time being necessary for teacher learning to affect student learning. Although there are continued calls for more experimental research related to professional development (Gersten, Taylor, Keys, Rolfhus, & Newman-Gonchar, 2014), evidence from correlative and qualitative studies indicate the professional development processes outlined by Garret et al. (1999) are tentatively associated with impacts on students’ learning (Gersten et al., 2014; Neuman & Cunningham, 2009; Sun, Penuel, Frank, Gallagher, & Youngs, 2013).

Research Supporting Elements of High Quality Professional Development

The current practitioner literature has popularized various types of professional development processes grounded in research. The term job- embedded learning is often used to encompass high quality professional development elements identified in the research and highlighted in adult learning (Croft, Coggshall, Dolan, & Powers, 2010). Zepeda (2012a) defines job embedded learning as “learning that is embedded in the workday and tailored to individual needs” (p. 363). Job embedded professional development by definition values adult experience, involves educators in decision about their learning, is applied in work settings to real issues, occurs over time, engages educators in dialogue and reflection, and provides educators the practice and feedback necessary to implement knowledge and skills. Two groups of job embedded professional development processes have received the most attention both in the research and practitioner literature– various types of coaching and educator collaborative study groups.

Research findings supporting coaching and collaborative study groups as professional development processes that impact teacher practice and student outcomes is growing but limited. Specifically, the early work of Joyce and Showers (1981), as confirmed by other researchers (Bowman & McCormick, 2000; Kohler , Crilley, Shearer, & Good, 1997; Olivero, Bane, & Kopelman, 1997) indicates peer coaching leads to changes in educator practice. Research of instructional coaching, defined as individuals specifically tasked to support educator incorporation of research-based practices (Knight, 2007), has also shown to positively impact educator work and limited evidence of improved student outcomes (Elish-Piper & L’Allier, 2011; Sailors & Shanklin, 2010). Instructional coaching, however, appears to be most effective when coaches have strong subject specific content knowledge (Campbell & Malkus, 2011), is a collaborative process between coach and educator (Knight, 2007), and encourages teacher reflection (Costa & Garmston, 2002). Though the research literature is sparse, evidence is surfacing that types of educator collaborative study groups such as lesson study, interdisciplinary teaming, and professional learning communities, have impacts on teacher practice and, again, limited evidence associating collaborative study groups with student outcomes (Gersten, Domino, Jayanthi, James, & Santoro, 2011; Sanders et al., 2009; Vescio, Ross, & Adams, 2008). Issues with research of collaborative educator study groups as a professional development process include how the process is defined and the number and specific elements and practices members use within the group, such as peer coaching and action research (Vescio et al., 2008).

Although research findings related to the content and processes of professional development are growing, evidence suggests school contextual features have a foundational impact on educator learning. Of particular importance are school cultures and climates in which trust, collaboration, and norms of professional learning are present (Drago-Severson, 2012; Hoy & Hannum, 1997). In such cultures educators are more likely to transfer the content and skills learned to their practice (Drago-Severson, 2012). Hoy and Hannum (1997) suggest these healthy school cultures are also characterized by educators receiving needed resources for learning, involvement in individual and school-wide decisions, and effective organizational structures that undergird professional development. Research by Jurasaite-Harbison and Rex (2010) also indicates that healthy school cultures and climates enhance informal and incidental learning as well (Jurasaite-Harbison & Rex, 2010). Organizational structures that promote educator collaboration and decision making might include scheduling for interdisciplinary teams and providing common planning time.

Connecting High Quality Professional Learning and Middle Grades Education

Tenets of high quality professional development intertwine with cornerstone themes promoted by middle grades education advocates (Bickmore, 2013; Jackson & Davis, 2000). The overlapping themes of collaboration, relevance, shared decision making, and healthy school cultures are prominent in the professional development research literature and in policy statements made by the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE), formerly National Middle School Association (NMSA, 2010). The burgeoning research supporting collaboration as an effective professional development process supports AMLE’s long standing promotion of collaborative structures such as interdisciplinary teaming, professional learning communities, and common teacher planning time, for adult and student learning (NMSA, 1992, 1995, 2003, 2010). AMLE has also promoted relevant learning experiences that are embedded in the work of educators, applicable to practice, problem centered, and ongoing (NMSA, 1992, 1995, 2003, 2010, 2011). Further, AMLE has a history of valuing adult experience by encouraging educator input into school and individual decisions about learning activities through shared decision-making (NMSA, 1995, 2003, 2010, 2011). Finally, AMLE policy statements have recognized the importance of healthy school cultures and climates that support adults as well as student learning (NMSA, 1995, 2003, 2010). Trust, collaboration, continual learning, and relationships are shared concepts between high quality professional development and middle grades education.

Summary

Although a seemingly common sense concept, researchers have had difficulty substantiating the connection between educator professional learning and student outcomes because of the host of potential variables and the overall complexity of the research. Based on theory and the existent research literature, however, there is a growing consensus in the educational community concerning what constitutes high quality professional development that supports educators and subsequent student learning. Grounded in adult learning theory, professional development that attends to the content, context, and processes of professional learning, as outlined by current research findings, appears to positively impact student learning (Elish-Piper & L’Allier, 2011; Gersten, R., Domino, Jayanthi, James & Santoro, 2011; Gersten, Taylor, Keys, Rolfhus & Newman-Gonchar, 2014; Kohler, Crilley, Shearer, & Good, 1997; Neuman & Cunningham, 2009; Sun, Penuel, Frank, Gallagher & Youngs, 2013; Yoon, Duncan, Lee, Scarloss & Shapley, 2007). The traditional notion of professional development as institutes, training sessions, and workshops is giving way to research findings indicating value in job embedded activities. Job embedded professional learning honors adult experience, involves educators in decisions about their learning, is relevant and can be applied to immediate issues directly related to educators practice, occurs over time, engages educators in dialogue and reflection, provides educators the practice and feedback necessary to implement knowledge and skills, and occurs in a healthy school culture characterized by trust, collaboration, and continuous learning. These concepts of collaboration, relevance, shared decision making, and supportive school cultures are also key components of high quality middle grades education.


References

Bickmore, D. L. (2013). Professional development and the middle school concept: A reciprocal relationship. In P. G. Andrews (Ed.), Research to guide practice in middle grades education (Vol. 4, pp. 717-749). Westerville,OH: Association for Middle Level Education.

Blank, R. K., de las Alas, & Smith, C. (2008). Does teacher professional development have effects on teaching and learning? Analysis of evaluation findings from programs for mathematics and science teachers in 14 states. Washington, DC: Council of Chief State School Officers.

Bowman, C. L., & McCormick, S. (2000). Camparison of peer coaching versus traditional supervision effects. Journal of Educational Research, 93(4), 256-261.

Campbell, P. F., & Malkus, N. N. (2011). The impact of elementary mathematics coaches on student achievement. The Elementary School Journal, 111(3), 430-454. doi: 10.1086/657654

Costa, A. L., & Garmston, R. J. (2002). Cognitive coaching: A foundation for renaissance schools (2nd ed.). Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon Publishers.

Croft, A., Coggshall, J. G., Dolan, M., & Powers, E. (2010). Job-embedded professional development: What it is, who is responsible, and how to get it done well. Issue Brief. Washington, DC: National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality.

Darling-Hammond, L., Wei, R. C., Andree, A., Richardson, N., & Orphanos, S. (2009). Professional learning in the learning profession: A status report on teacher development in the U.S. and abroad. Technical Report (pp. 1-31). Dallas, TX: National Staff Development Council.

Domitrovich, C. E., Gest, S. D., Gill, S., Bierman, K. L., Welsh, J. A., & Jones, D. (2009). Fostering high-quality teaching with an enriched curriculum and professional development support: The head start REDI program. American Educational Research Journal, 46(2), 567-597. doi: 10.3102/0002831208328089

Drago-Severson, E. (2009). Leading adult learning: Supporting adults development in our schools. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Drago-Severson, E. (2012). New opportunities for principal leadership: Shaping school climates for enhanced teacher development. Teachers College Record, 114(3), n3.

Elish-Piper, L., & L’Allier, S. K. (2011). Examining the Relationship between literacy coaching and student reading gains in grades K–3. The Elementary School Journal, 112(1), 83-106. doi: 10.1086/660685

Elmore, R. F. (2004). School reform from the inside out: Policy, practice, and performance. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education.

Garet, M. S. (2008). The impact of two professional development interventions on early reading instruction and achievement. NCEE 2008–4031. National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance.

Garet, M. S., Birman, B. F., Porter, A. C., Desimone, L. M., & Herman, R. (1999). Designing Effective Professional Development: Lessons from the Eisenhower Program [and] Technical Appendices (pp. 532). Washington, DC: American Institutes for Research. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED442634).

Garet, M. S., Cronen, S., Eaton, M., Kurki, A., Ludwig, M., Jones, W., & Silverberg, M. (2008). The impact of two professional development interventions on early reading instruction and achievement.(Report number: NCEE 2008-4030). Washington, DC: US Department of Education.

Garet, M. S., Porter, A. C., Desimone, L. M., Birman, B. F., & Yoon, K. S. (2001). What makes professional development effective? Results from a national sample of teachers. American Educational Research Journal, 38(4), 915-945.

Gersten, R., Domino, J., Jayanthi, M., James, K., & Santoro, L. E. (2011). Teacher study group: Impact of the professional development model on reading instruction and student outcomes in first grade classrooms. American Educational Research Journal, 47(3), 694-739. doi: 10.3102/0002831209361208

Gersten, R., Taylor, M. J., Keys, T. D., Rolfhus, E., & Newman-Gonchar, R. (2014). Summary of research on the effectiveness of math professional development approaches. (REL 2014–010). Regional Education Research Laboratory Southeast.

Guskey, T. R., & Sparks, D. (2002). Linking professional development to improvements in student learning. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans.

Hoy, W. K., & Hannum, J. W. (1997). Middle school climate: An empirical assessment of organizational health and student achievement. Educational Administration Quarterly, 33(3), 290-311. doi: 10.1177/0013161X97033003003

Jackson, A., & Davis, G. A. (2000). Turning points 2000: Educating adolescents in the 21st century. New York: Teachers College Press.

Joyce, B. R., & Showers, B. (1981). Transfer of training: The contribution of "coaching." Journal of Education, 163(2), 163-172.

Jurasaite-Harbison, E., & Rex, L. A. (2010). School cultures as contexts for informal teacher learning. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26(2), 267-277. doi: DOI: 10.1016/j.tate.2009.03.012

Kennedy, M. (1998). Form and substance in inservice teacher education. Research monograph (pp. 29). Madison, WI: National Institutue for Science Education.

Knight, J. (2007). Instructional coaching: A partnership approach to imrpving instruction. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Knowles, M. S. (1980). The modern practice of adult education: From pedagogy to andragogy (Rev. and Update ed.). Wilton, CN: Association Press; Follett Publishing Company.

Knowles, M. S. (1984). Andragogy in action. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Kohler , F. W., Crilley, K. M., Shearer, D. D., & Good, G. (1997). Effects of peer coaching on teacher and student outcomes. The Journal of Educational Research, 90(4).

Learning Forward. (2011). Standards for professional learning. Oxford, OH.

Marsick, V. J., & Watkins, K. E. (2001). Informal and incidental learning. In S. B. Merriam (Ed.), The new update on adult learning theory (pp. 25-34). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Merriam, S. B., Caffarella, R. S., & Baumgartner, L. (2007). Learning in adulthood: A comprehensive guide (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

National Middle School Association. (1992). This we believe. Columbus, OH:Author.

National Middle School Association. (1995). This we believe: Developmentally responsive middle level schools. Columbus, OH:Author.

National Middle School Association. (2003). This we believe: Successful schools for young adolescents. Westerville, OH:Author.

National Middle School Association. (2010). This we believe: Keys to educating young adolescents. Westerville, OH: Author.

National Middle School Association. (2011). Study guide for this we believe: Keys to educating young adolescents. http://www.nmsa.org/portals/0/pdf/about/twb/TWB_Study_guide.pdf

National Staff Development Council. (2001). Standards for staff development: Revised. Retrieved October 12, 2009, from http://www.nsdc.org/standards/index.cfm

Neuman, S. B., & Cunningham, L. (2009). The impact of professional dvelopment and coaching on early language and literacy instructional practices. American Educational Research Journal, 46(2), 532-566. doi: 10.3102/0002831208328088

No Child Left Behind. (2001). Public Law No. 107-1110, 115 Stat. 1425, 2002: One hundred seventh Congress of the United States of America.

Olivero, G., Bane, K. D., & Kopelman, R. E. (1997). Executive coaching as a transfer of training Tool: Effects on productivity in a public agency. Public Personnel Management, 26(4), 461-469. doi: 10.1177/009102609702600403

Penuel, W. R., Fishman, B. J., Yamaguchi, R., & Gallagher, L. P. (2007). What makes professional development effective? Strategies that foster curriculum implementation. American Educational Research Journal, 44(4), 921-958.

Sailors, M., & Shanklin, Nancy L. (2010). Introduction: Growing evidence to support coaching in literacy and mathematics. The Elementary School Journal, 111(1), 1-6. doi: 10.1086/653467

Sanders, W. M., Goldenberg, C. N., & Gallimore, R. (2009). Increasing achievement by focusing grade-level teams on improving classroom learning: A prospective, quasi-experimental study of Title I schools. American Educational Research Journal, 46(4), 1006-1033. doi: 10.3102/0002831209333185

Sun, M., Penuel, W. R., Frank, K. A., Gallagher, H. A., & Youngs, P. (2013). Shaping professional development to promote the diffusion of instructional expertise among teachers. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 35(3), 344-369. doi: 10.3102/0162373713482763

Van Driel, J. H., & Berry, A. (2012). Teacher professional development focusing on pedagogical content knowledge. Educational Researcher, 41(1), 26-28. doi: 10.3102/0013189x11431010

Vescio, V., Ross, D., & Adams, A. (2008). A review of research on the impact of professional learning communities on teaching practice and student learning. Teaching and Teacher Education, 24(1), 80-91. doi: DOI: 10.1016/j.tate.2007.01.004

Wei, R. C., Darling-Hammond, L., Andree, A., Richardson, N., & Orphanos, S. (2009). Professional learning in the learning profession: A status report on teacher development in the U.S. and abroad. Technical Report (pp. iv, 1-152). Dallas, TX: National Staff Development Council.

Yoon, K. S., Duncan, T., Lee, S. W. Y., Scarloss, B., & Shapley, K. L. (2007). Reviewing the evidence on how teacher professional development affects student achievement (Issues & Answers. REL 2007-No. 033).

Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Educational Science, National Center for Education and Regional assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest.

Zepeda, S. J. (2012a). Instructional supervision: Applying tools and concepts (3rd ed.). Larchmont, NY: Eye On Education.

Zepeda, S. J. (2012b). Professional development: What works (2nd ed.). Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education.


Annotated References

Garet, M. S., Porter, A. C., Desimone, L. M., Birman, B. F., & Yoon, K. S. (2001). What makes professional development effective? Results from a national sample of teachers. American Educational Research Journal, 38(4), 915-945.

In this seminal work, the researchers surveyed 1,027 teachers involved in nationally funded science and mathematics professional development programs for teachers. The researchers compared elements of high quality professional development to teacher report of changes in their knowledge and practice. Results indicated professional development based in reform delivery methods (not workshops or short trainings), occurred over time with more than 25 hours of content involved groups of teachers learning together, was focused on the subject taught by the teacher, required teachers to be active participants in their learning, and cohorent, i.e., aligned with standards and teacher goals, was more likely to lead to increases in teacher knowledge and changes in practice.


Knowles, M. S. (1980). The modern practice of adult education: From pedagogy to andragogy (Rev. and Update ed.). Wilton, CN: Association Press; Follett Publishing Company.

Knowles defines and explains the concept of andragogy, the art and science of teaching adults, and explains how adults have different learning characteristics than children. He outlines the four key characteristics of adult learners. Adults are 1) more self-directed problem solvers as they mature, 2) have a greater reservoir of experiences and define themselves based on their experiences, 3) adult readiness to learn is based on life phases, and 4) adults change from future oriented to a more immediate problem based, performance centered learners. Although Knowles later adapts and adds to these characteristics, this work provides the bases for future adult learning theory and research.


Yoon, K. S., Duncan, T., Lee, S.W.Y., Scarloss, B., & Shapley, K. L. (2007). Reviewing the evidence on how teacher professional development affects student achievement (Issues & Answers. REL 2007-No. 033). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Educational Science, National Center for Education and Regional assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest.

Yoon and colleagues provide one of the first studies that reviewed the relationship between professional development and student achievement using government criteria of experimentally designed research. One of the major findings from the analysis was that there was little research connecting professional development to studuent outcomes that met governmental criteria for experimentally designed studies (a total of only 9 studies). Second, in evaluating the 9 studies, the only component that predicted student outcomes was the number of hours teachers spent in professional development activities. In order for professional development to have an impact on student achievment teachers needed to participate in a minium of 14 hours of professional learning activites related to one content topic. This study has spurred more research speciiclly examining the relationships between professional development and student outcomes.


Recommended Resources

Croft, A., Coggshall, J. G., Dolan, M., & Powers, E. (2010). Job-embedded professional development: What it is, who is responsible, and how to get it done well. Issue Brief. Washington, DC: National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality.

Darling-Hammond, L., Wei, R. C., Andree, A., Richardson, N., & Orphanos, S. (2009). Professional learning in the learning profession: A status report on teacher development in the U.S. and abroad. Technical Report (pp. 1-31). Dallas, TX: National Staff Development Council.

Learning Forward. (2011). Standards for professional learning. Retreived from: http://learningforward.org/standards#.UzbVfYWwU2A

Zepeda, S. J. (2012). Professional development: What works (2nd ed.). Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education.


Author Information

Dana L. Bickmore is an assistant professor of Educational Leadership at Louisiana State University. Her research focus is the principal as instructional leader in middle grades and charter school contexts, with specific interests in the principal’s role in the induction and professional development of school personnel.


Published October 2014


0 Comments
Advertisement

Please login or register to post comments.

Related Resources

Advertisement