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Effects of Teacher Professional Development on Gains in Student Achievement: How Meta Analysis Provides Scientific Evidence Useful to Education Leaders

Abstract

CCSSO was awarded a two-year grant by the National Science Foundation to conduct a meta-analysis study of teacher professional development programs in mathematics and science. The project synthesized findings from professional development programs that have effects on student learning and improved teaching as demonstrated by scientifically-designed research and evaluation. In particular, the study addressed two questions important to education leaders:

What are the effects of content-focused professional development for on improving teacher knowledge and skills and on improving student achievement?
What professional development program characteristics explain the degree of effectiveness, and are the findings consistent with existing research on effective professional development, e.g., content focus, duration, coherence, active learning, and collective participation of teachers)?

Findings from the report "Effects of Teacher Professional Development on Gains in Student Achievement: How Meta Analysis Provides Scientific Evidence Useful to Education Leaders" show important cross-study evidence that teacher professional development in mathematics does have significant positive effects on student achievement. The analysis results also confirm the positive relationship to student outcomes of key characteristics of design of professional development programs, particularly on duration and frequency of professional development activities. Education leaders, especially those involved in designing and selecting professional development for teachers, can benefit from the study's identification of the kinds of evaluation designs that can be applied in their professional development programs and identifying which programs have measurable effects.

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