Professional Learning and Student Achievement

June 26, 2013

Research indicates that the academic success achieved by students is related to the quality of teaching. In order to graduate students prepared for the work force, college, and careers, improvement of student achievement must be addressed. Professional learning is an essential strategy for improving teacher quality and increasing student learning in the K-12 years.

In a research review conducted by Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest (Yoon et al., 2007), a report surfaced regarding more than 1,300 studies addressing the effects of teacher professional development on student achievement in the content areas of mathematics, science, and reading, English language arts. The findings indicated that nine studies met What Works Clearinghouse evidence standards. The report revealed that those teachers who participated in these nine studies and received an average of 49 hours of professional development increased student achievement by 21 percentile points. Wouldn’t you like to see that kind of increase?

Multi-Prong Approach to Teacher Development
Student improvement is non-negotiable; thus, educators must focus on a critical element, teacher effectiveness. Multiple opportunities must be provided for teachers to refine and advance their teaching practices based on the daily use of student data. Teachers must be encouraged to reflect on how their instructional practices impact student learning. Daily conversations must occur in order to determine how to best address the diverse needs of students. Networking with others can guide educators in how to systematically develop students’ cognitive skills and promote high-intellectual performances. Other suggestions for improving teacher effectiveness and student achievement include:

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