An independent audit of a Florida professional development program in literacy instruction offers the latest evidence that purposeful teacher training can lead to quantifiable gains in student learning.
The analysis found that students of teachers in the Duval County district who participated in an intensive training program made significant gains in reading-test scores.
The program, developed by Schultz Center for Teaching and Learning in Jacksonville, is based on a model that supports creating formative assessments, using student work to plan instruction, developing supportive classroom routines, and using the classroom environment to support and reinforce literacy.
For each six-hour day teachers in took part in the program student scores on state tests rose by half a point. At that rate, the study says, schools could expect that teachers who complete the full, 14-day program to boost scores in their class by an average of 7 points.
“Professional development is not a soft input as some suggest,” said William J. Slotnik, the executive director of the Community Training and Assistance Center, the Boston-based education research group that conducted the audit. “When done to a high level of quality, there is a high relationship between the hours of professional development and student growth in reading,” he said.
—Education Week Staff Reports
A version of this article appeared in the September 10, 2008 edition of Teacher PD Sourcebook