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Eval Rev. 2012 Oct;36(5):346-74. doi: 10.1177/0193841X12473304.

Do less effective teachers choose professional development does it matter?

Author information

1
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Center for School Leadership Development, Chapel Hill, NC 27517, USA. nate.barrett@unc.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In an ongoing effort to improve teacher quality, most states require continuing education or professional development for their in-service teachers. Studies evaluating the effectiveness of various professional development programs have assumed a normal distribution of quality of teachers participating in the programs. Because participation in many professional development programs is either targeted or voluntary, this article suggests past evaluations of the effectiveness of professional development may be subject to selection bias and policy recommendations may be premature.

RESEARCH DESIGN:

This article presents an empirical framework for evaluating professional development programs where treatment is potentially nonrandom, and explicitly accounts for the teacher's prior effectiveness in the classroom as a factor that may influence participation in professional development. This article controls for the influence of selection bias on professional development outcomes by generating a matched sample based on propensity scores and then estimating the program's effect.

RESULTS:

In applying this framework to the professional development program examined in this article, less effective teachers are found to be more likely to participate in the program, and correcting for this selection leads to different conclusions regarding the program's effectiveness than when ignoring teacher selection patterns.

PMID:
23420579
DOI:
10.1177/0193841X12473304
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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