On-line Development Aids Teachers, Students

English and math teachers who took professional development courses online improved their instructional practices and boosted their subject knowledge scores, producing modest performance gains for their students, report Boston College researchers in one of the first large-scale randomized experiments to study the impact of online professional development for educators.

As teacher performance comes under increased scrutiny, the findings point to on-line professional development as a powerful option to improve teacher quality, according to the report from the Technology and Assessment Study Collaborative, a unit of BC’s Lynch School of Education and its Center for the Study of Testing, Evaluation and Educational Policy (CSTEEP).

“A series of on-line professional development courses that focus on specific content and target student learning needs can have positive effects on teacher knowledge and instructional practices,” says Boston College associate professor of education Laura O’Dwyer. “The studies also show that teacher participation in online professional development can translate into improvements in targeted student outcomes.

“As states are discussing the implications of common education standards proposed by the U.S. Department of Education, the findings from these four randomized trials suggest that on-line professional development may be a viable and cost-effective means of improving teacher knowledge and ultimately student outcomes.”

For more information about the project, see the inTASC Website: www.bc.edu/research/intasc.

English and math teachers who took professional development courses online improved their instructional practices and boosted their subject knowledge scores, producing modest performance gains for their students, report Boston College researchers in one of the first large-scale randomized experiments to study the impact of online professional development for educators.

As teacher performance comes under increased scrutiny, the findings point to on-line professional development as a powerful option to improve teacher quality, according to the report from the Technology and Assessment Study Collaborative, a unit of BC’s Lynch School of Education and its Center for the Study of Testing, Evaluation and Educational Policy (CSTEEP).

“A series of on-line professional development courses that focus on specific content and target student learning needs can have positive effects on teacher knowledge and instructional practices,” says Boston College associate professor of education Laura O’Dwyer. “The studies also show that teacher participation in online professional development can translate into improvements in targeted student outcomes.

“As states are discussing the implications of common education standards proposed by the U.S. Department of Education, the findings from these four randomized trials suggest that on-line professional development may be a viable and cost-effective means of improving teacher knowledge and ultimately student outcomes.”

For more information about the project, see the inTASC Website: www.bc.edu/research/intasc.

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