Experimenting With Teacher Professional Development: Motives and Methods

Nov. 25, 2008

Source: Educational Researcher, Vol. 37, No. 8, 469-479 (2008)

A strong base of research is needed to guide investments in teacher professional development (PD). This paper considers the status of research on PD. It also articulates a particular direction for future work. Little is known about whether PD can have a positive impact on achievement when a program is delivered across a range of typical settings and when its delivery depends on multiple trainers. Despite a consensus in the literature on the features of effective PD, there is limited evidence on the specific features that make a difference for achievement.
This paper explains the benefits offered by experiments in addressing current research needs.
It also discusses the unique methodological issues encountered when experimental methods are applied to the study of PD.

Updated: Jan. 28, 2009