Report: Teacher Development Efforts Not Improving Instruction
The 50 largest school districts in the United States spend an average of
$18,000 per teacher, per year on professional development, but only 30 percent
of teachers demonstrated a substantial improvement in instruction over a two-
to three-year period, according to a new report from TNTP, a national nonprofit organization founded by
The report, "The
Mirage: Confronting the Hard Truth About Our Quest for Teacher
Development," analyzes the professional development efforts and outcomes of
10,000 teachers in three large school districts and one charter school network.
The researchers identified some differences in the professional development
experiences of the teachers who improved compared to those who did not and came
up with a list of recommendations for improving teacher development efforts.
The study found that "no particular kind or amount of professional
development consistently helps teachers improve." The failure could be at least
partially explained by the fact that most teachers don't understand how they
need to improve their instruction, or even that they need to improve at all,
with less than half of teachers surveyed for the report agreeing that they have
weaknesses in their instruction.
The report provides three recommendations for improving professional
- Set clear, measurable goals for teacher development efforts;
- Revise existing efforts to meet those goals by trying new approaches and
shifting resources to those that are most effective; and
- Consider changes to teacher recruitment, compensation and smart retention
policies, as well as changes to teacher preparation, job structure and school
The full report is available as a free PDF download from TNTP's
Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.