Report Shows Value Of Online Development

English and math teachers who take professional development courses online improve instructional practices, boost subject knowledge scores, and produce modest performance gains for their students. This according one of the first large-scale randomized experiments by Boston College to study the impact of online professional development for educators.

The four total studies, conducted over a period of three years, involved approximately 330 teachers and 7,000 students across 13 states. During the course of three school semesters, teachers completed three online courses and put in an average of 100 hours of training focused on three areas: content knowledge, incorporating that knowledge into instruction, and classroom skills. Teachers who received the training and their students were compared to teachers who were randomly assigned to the control group and their students. The researchers found improvement in instructional practices and content knowledge across all groups of teachers in the subjects of fourth and seventh grade English and fifth and eighth grade mathematics.

However, student gains were not so notable, perhaps because of the timing of data collection and the degree to which teachers had time to implement the knowledge and classroom practices they acquired through the online professional development.

More information: www.bc.edu/research/intasc/PDF/EFE_Findings2010_Report.pdf.

English and math teachers who take professional development courses online improve instructional practices, boost subject knowledge scores, and produce modest performance gains for their students. This according one of the first large-scale randomized experiments by Boston College to study the impact of online professional development for educators.

The four total studies, conducted over a period of three years, involved approximately 330 teachers and 7,000 students across 13 states. During the course of three school semesters, teachers completed three online courses and put in an average of 100 hours of training focused on three areas: content knowledge, incorporating that knowledge into instruction, and classroom skills. Teachers who received the training and their students were compared to teachers who were randomly assigned to the control group and their students. The researchers found improvement in instructional practices and content knowledge across all groups of teachers in the subjects of fourth and seventh grade English and fifth and eighth grade mathematics.

However, student gains were not so notable, perhaps because of the timing of data collection and the degree to which teachers had time to implement the knowledge and classroom practices they acquired through the online professional development.

More information: www.bc.edu/research/intasc/PDF/EFE_Findings2010_Report.pdf.

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