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Unpacking Teacher Professional Development

Apr 2017
Working Paper
Prashant Loyalka, Anna Popova, Guirong Li, Chengfang Liu, Henry Shi

Despite massive investments in teacher professional development (PD) programs in developing countries, there is little evidence on their effectiveness. We present the results of a large-scale, randomized evaluation of a high-profile PD program in China, in which teachers were randomized to receive PD; PD plus follow-up; PD plus evaluation of their command of the PD content; or no PD. Precise estimates indicate that PD and associated interventions failed to improve teacher and student outcomes. A detailed analysis of the causal chain shows teachers find PD content to be overly theoretical, and PD delivery too rote and passive, to be useful.

Publication Keywords: 
Teacher Quality
Professional Development
Follow-up
Evaluation
Randomized Trial
Developing Countries
Geographic Regions: 
General