Even intensive and well-designed professional development in a particular subject, such as mathematics, may not pay dividends in the classroom, a federally financed study has found.
The study looks at a program to provide professional development to 7th grade math teachers on teaching rational-number topics. The point of the research, conducted by the American Institutes for Research of Washington and the MDRC of New York City, was to study a professional-development program with features that research has found to be effective.
It focuses on roughly 100 teachers randomly chosen to receive the training in 12 school districts in the first year of the study, and about 50 teachers in six districts the second year. They were compared with control groups of nonparticipating teachers. After two years, however, researchers found no measurable impact from the program on either teacher knowledge or student achievement.
A version of this article appeared in the June 08, 2011 edition of Education Week as Teacher Learning