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Eliza Garfield


  • Researcher 



The goal of the ALSISE project is to generate evidence-based measures of the effectiveness of 65 federally-funded teacher professional development institutes for middle school life science teachers. Such institutes typically meet for a week or longer during summer months and aim to increase teacher knowledge of relevant subject matter and appropriate teaching methods. Institutes freely employ a wide range of methods and materials, from placing teachers in research labs to carrying out classroom activities as students do in their classrooms. Often university research faculty have a substantial role in creating and running these programs and wish to expose teachers to cutting-edge research findings. However, each institute generally employs its own measures of success making comparisons of effectiveness between different approaches problematic. The proposed project seeks to measure longitudinal shifts in middle school life science teachers' subject matter knowledge (SMK) and pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) due to these professional development programs.
Overall, this project will build upon the myriad of existing approaches used for teacher professional development so that future programs will be far more effective in helping teachers acquire the knowledge needed to impact student learning. Data will be shared with institute evaluation staff and made available to other educational researchers.