Middle school teachers' perceptions of professional development experiences

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Martha Harrill Robinson (Creator)
Institution
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site: http://www.wcu.edu/404.asp
Advisor
Sandra Tonnsen

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine western North Carolina’s middle school teachers’ perceptions of the professional development experiences they participated in during the 2009-2010 school year and whether or not the professional development they participated in contributed to student achievement and positively affected classroom practice. There were 862 teachers from 21 public middle schools who received an invitation to participated in the study; 230 responded for a return rate of 27.6%. This study attempted to answer these questions: (1) To what extent do middle school teachers believe their professional development during the 2009-2010 school year was aligned with the Learning Forward Standards? (2) In what ways do middle school teachers believe their professional development during the 2009-2010 school year had a positive impact on their classroom practices and student achievement? (3) Is there a relationship between middle school teachers’ perceptions of the adherence to Learning Forward Standards and the teachers’ gender, the teachers’ years of experience, the subject(s) taught, and the size of the district? (4) Is there a relationship between middle school teachers’ perceptions of the impact of professional development on their classroom practices and student achievement and the teachers’ gender, the teachers’ years of experience, the subject(s) taught, and the size of the district? (5) What do middle school teachers perceive as their greatest professional development need? (6) What professional development experience do middle school teachers say is the most beneficial experience of their career? The conceptual framework based upon Learning Forward’s professional development standards provided the foundation for exploring how teachers perceived their professional development experiences. The researcher-designed survey was developed around the twelve elements of the professional development standards. Teachers’ perceptions of their professional development experiences were correlated with teachers’ gender, teachers’ years of experience, subject(s) taught, and the size of the district. The quantitative data analyzed included teachers’ gender, teachers’ years of experience, subject(s) taught, and the size of the district. Qualitative data included the teachers’ descriptions of their most beneficial professional development experience as well as those teachers believed impacted their classroom practices and student achievement. Teachers were asked to identify their greatest professional development need. After analysis of the survey data, a focus group, from the district where teacher perceptions closely aligned to the standards, was convened to gain insight into the teachers’ perceptions of their professional development experiences. This study found teachers believed their professional development was aligned or strongly aligned with the items on the survey representing the standards. Teachers indicated that learning about specific instructional programs and collaboration with other teachers had the greatest impact on their classroom practices. Similarly, teachers indicated that learning about specific instructional programs and collaboration with other teachers had the greatest impact on their student achievement. Nearly three-fourths of the teachers reported their greatest professional development need had a content-specific focus. Teachers reported their most beneficial professional development experience was content-specific.

Additional Information

Publication
Dissertation
Language: English
Date: 2011
Keywords
middle school, professional development, staff development
Subjects
Middle school teachers -- In-service training -- North Carolina, Western