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Impact of PD Profile


Impact of MSP Professional Development on the Quality of Instruction in Middle-School Mathematics & Science Classrooms

Overview:

The purpose of this Research, Evaluation and Technical Assistance (RETA) study under the NSF Mathematics and Science Partnership (MSP) Program is to assess the impact of MSP-supported professional development (PD) on the quality of instructional practice in middle schools. The American Institutes for Research (AIR) will be partnering with Eastern Michigan University to conduct the multi-site study which will be focused on mathematics classrooms.

Focusing on the crucial link between PD and instructional practice, the three-year study addresses the following research questions:
1. To what extent do professional development activities supported by MSP exhibit features of high-quality professional development as identified in prior research? Do teachers in MSP districts receive higher-quality PD than comparable teachers in non-MSP districts?
2. What are the effects of professional development activities supported by MSP on the quality of instruction in middle-school mathematics classrooms?
3. To what extent are features of high-quality professional development identified in prior research related to the quality of instruction in middle-school mathematics classrooms?

Data for this study will come from multiple sources: an annual teacher survey (The Professional Development and Instructional Practice Survey), teacher logs collected through an online program (Professional Development Activity Log), and samples of teacher assignments. The research design is a quasi-experimental design with a matched comparison group that consists of teachers who are not participating in MSP-supported PD and who are otherwise similar to a group of teachers participating in MSP-supported PD, with a goal of reaching 240 teachers in two MSP sites. The three research questions will be investigated using a variety of analytic methods: (1) descriptive analyses of data from both the teacher survey and teacher logs where collected; (2) multilevel analyses to assess the effects of MSP-supported PD on the quality of instructional practice as measured by the rigor and relevance of teacher assignments; and (3) multiple regression to assess the professional development effects on survey-based measures of instructional practice.

The findings from the study as well as the rigorous evaluation design and innovative measurement instruments developed for the study will enrich the knowledge base about the impact of professional development on instructional practice. To broaden the impact of the study, the team will employ a variety of strategies, including study reports, conference presentations, MSP Learning Network meetings, journal articles, and workshops, to disseminate study findings and products to diverse audiences.