Published Online: April 7, 2009
Published in Print: April 8, 2009, as Professional Development

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Professional Development

"Making Sense of the Links: Professional Development, Teacher Practices, and Student Achievement"

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Professional development has moderate effects on changing teachers practices, but very small—although occasionally significant—effects on student achievement, according to a study published in the February edition of Teachers College Record.

Michigan State University researcher Marjorie R. Wallace examined student-achievement data linked to specific teachers across six databases. Two of these data sets derived from the 2000 Beginning Teacher Preparation SurveyRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader, in Connecticut and Tennessee; the remaining four came from different administrations of the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

The study found more consistent results for mathematics professional development than for reading. A one standard-deviation increase in professional development translated into moderate increases in the average frequency of math instruction.

The study also found that the effects of professional development on student achievement vis-à-vis teachers’ practices, are larger than the more indirect effects of professional development on student achievement.

Vol. 28, Issue 28, Page 5

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