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Indicators of Quality of Teacher Professional Development and Instructional Change Using Data From Surveys of Enacted Curriculum: Findings from NSF MSP-RETA Project

Abstract

In 2002, an MSP-RETA project grant was awarded to the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) to conduct an empirical study of the quality of professional development provided through MSP supported projects that would test new survey-based tools for analyzing the effectiveness of teacher professional development. A team led by CCSSO with partners at American Institutes for Research and the Wisconsin Center for Education Research conducted the study. The present paper describes findings from the study team's longitudinal analysis of data from Surveys of Enacted Curriculum with teachers of math and science in four MSP grantee sites.

Data were collected from teachers at two points in time -- in year one (spring 2003) prior to the start of MSP professional development activities, and in year three (spring 2005) following two years of MSP activities. The study included teachers in MSP-supported professional development opportunities (treatment group) and other math and science teachers in the target districts (control group). Details concerning the study rationale based on prior research and the study design are outlined in the Year 2 Study Report (CCSSO, 2004).



Research Questions
To assist NSF and the Math-Science Partnerships toward the goal of improving methods of evaluating the professional development models for improving teacher knowledge and skills, the study team designed a three-year empirical study to demonstrate and test an objective, reliable methodology for measuring the quality of professional development activities. The study data are being analyzed to measure the effects teacher professional development opportunities on improving the quality of instruction in mathematics and science education. More specifically, the study has three main research questions: To what extent is the quality of the professional development supported by MSP activities consistent with research-based definitions of quality? What effects do teachers' professional development experiences have on instructional practices and content taught in math and science classes? Are high-quality professional development activities more likely than lower-quality activities to increase the alignment of instructional content with state standards and assessments?

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