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Report: Professional development is ineffective and wastes money

By Stephen Noonoo, Editor, @stephenoonoo
August 6th, 2015

District PD spending does not equate to teacher improvement, study finds

professional-developmentResults from a study of more than 10,000 teachers across four districts reveals that professional development — of any type — did little for the teachers or districts studied, and found that less than a third of teachers improved performance year-over-year as a result.

The study, conducted by nonprofit TNTP, found that the participating districts (there were three large ones and one charter network) spent an average of $18,000 per teacher, per year on PD, but only three in 10 teachers saw “substantial” improvement over a two- to three-year period. Two in 10 teachers at surveyed districts saw declines in practice. No particular approach or quantity of PD was found to help improve teacher performance, although there were modest gains for teachers in districts that focused on two related practices.

“The hard truth is that the help most schools give their teachers isn’t helping all that much,” said TNTP CEO Dan Weisberg. “There’s enormous untapped potential within our nation’s teachers, but our findings suggest that we’re nowhere close to unleashing it. That’s not what we’d hoped to find.”

Next page: 6 major findings