Professional Development Falls Short; Department of Ed Offers Toolkit to Improve Efforts
The Department of Education has designed a toolkit to help school administrators overcome
obstacles to accomplishing quality professional development. Included: Highlights
of a recent report on the status of professional development in schools plus a link to a toolkit
for school administrators.
High-quality, long-term professional development that is aligned with district and school goals, is focused on knowledge in a specific subject, and actively engages groups of teachers in learning new skills and knowledge can have a significant impact on the quality of teaching, according to a U.S. Department of Education report released in December.
According to the report, Does Professional Development Change Teaching Practice? Results of a Three-Year Study, most schools and districts do not know how to implement high-quality professional development activities and lack sufficient resources to start and sustain effective, long-term programs.
To better design and run professional development activities, every school district will receive a toolkit, developed by the department, along with federally funded North Central Regional Educational Laboratory and Mid-Continental Regional Education Laboratory. The user-friendly toolkit walks administrators through the processes of designing, implementing, evaluating, and improving professional development.
The following are among the findings released in the report:
The study concluded the following:
The report was commissioned by the department's Planning and Evaluation Service and prepared under contract by the American Institutes for Research. The focus was on activities funded by the Eisenhower Professional Development Program and other sources from 1996-99.
The Eisenhower Program is the federal government's largest investment in developing the knowledge and skills of classroom teachers. The program provides funds through state education agencies to school districts, and through state agencies for higher education to institutions of higher education and nonprofit organizations. The funds primarily support professional development in mathematics and science.
The report and the Professional Development: Learning from the Best toolkit are available online or by calling 1-877-4ED-PUBS.
This article was written from U.S. Department of Education press releases.
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