Study Casts Doubt on Impact of Teacher Professional Development
Professional development has long been a source of both teacher and administrator frustration for being costly and unfocused. Now, a study from TNTP, a teacher-training and advocacy group, adds yet another troubling finding: PD doesn't seem to factor into why some teachers get better at their jobs while others don't.
"I hope [TNTP's report] is another opportunity to bring attention to the very huge importance of really looking at what we're putting our dollars into," she said. "I don't want it to be read as we should stop doing these things. It means, spend smartly." Hill recommended that larger districts start investing in better research methods. For instance, they could try to connect teachers' PD activities, such as time spent in mentoring or grade-level teams, to value-added results and look for patterns that seem promising. And all districts should start trying to vary their PD approaches among schools, scaling up ones with initial results and shuttering programs that don't seem to be helping much.
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