Source: Teacher Development, Vol. 18, No. 3, 303–333, 2014
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The primary purpose of this study was to measure important characteristics of professional development that may influence its effectiveness. The second purpose was to determine if any of the characteristics of effective professional development predicted teachers’ use of new knowledge/skills.
The sample consisted of elementary teachers from five school districts in Washington State participating in a district improvement initiative.
Data for instrument development and testing came from the Summit District Improvement Initiative research project, which occurred in Washington State of the USA.
The results reveal that the professional development instrument appears to be a viable tool for capturing teacher perceptions about characteristics of professional development. The instrument could provide information for state and district leadership about the quality of teachers’ professional development.
The instrument is versatile and cost-effective, because it was designed to measure professional development experiences in the broadest sense. The lack of practically significant correlations between characteristics of effective professional development, teachers’ use of new knowledge and skills, and student learning brings into question the influence professional development has on the school improvement process.
The findings also reveal a small negative correlation between collective participation and student learning, as measured by student scores on the state’s mathematics assessment.
The studies reviewed in this paper suggested a more complex relationship between student learning and teacher collaboration.