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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Teacher and Principal Experiences of Effective Professional Development
by Jenkins, Patti T., Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2012, 182; 3502620
Abstract (Summary)

Professional development practices have been in existence for generations; however, there have been concerns relative to the effectiveness of these programs for almost as long. Recognizing the limitations of early practice and the frustration of too many "fads" in reforming education, researchers have investigated best practices to improve the delivery of effective professional development. Quality professional development as a tool for improving student achievement, and subsequently future generations of workforce, is paramount in the current responsibilities of educational leaders.

This dissertation involved the examination of professional development in education as experienced by both teachers and principals in an effort to define the characteristics of effective practice. Using the tenets of high-quality professional development, as developed and summarized by educational leaders, this researcher addressed several prevalent problems associated with current professional development practice, including the structuring of professional development communities, the organization of professional development experiences, the lack of alignment between existing professional models and the research-based characteristics of effective models, and the logistical dilemmas inherent in providing adequate professional development.

The purpose of this study was to explore how a structured, organized, logistical, and aligned professional development program improves teacher performance, ultimately improving student learning and achievement. The following questions guided this study: What are the characteristics of effective professional development? How do the professional development experiences of teachers compare with those of principals? How does professional development enhance performance of teachers and students?

This researcher used qualitative methodology in a descriptive case study. Teachers and principals from three of eleven southeastern Virginia high schools, within one district, were studied to determine the methods and effectiveness of the professional development within their district and, specifically, within their respective schools. The three schools were purposefully chosen based upon data from a survey identifying specific strengths in technology, balanced assessment, or response to intervention. Three focus groups of teachers and three semistructured interviews with principals were conducted.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Tekleselassie, Abebayehu
Commitee: Farrell, Nancy, Judge, David, Lemasters, Linda, Swayze, Susan
School: The George Washington University
Department: Educational Leadership and Administration
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 73/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Teacher education
Keywords: Principal, Professional development
Publication Number: 3502620
ISBN: 978-1-267-25818-2
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