An examination of Mississippi public school teachers' perceptions of the effectiveness of their professional development experiences in raising student achievement

Daniel Martin Rushing

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to provide insight into the elements needed to produce a high quality professional development program for teachers. The researcher sought to determine possible factors that had a significant relationship to Mississippi public school teachers' perceptions of the effectiveness of their professional development experiences in raising student achievement. Furthermore, the researcher wanted to identify possible inequities with professional development opportunities for teachers in Mississippi. It is the hope of the researcher to highlight the characteristics of effective professional learning defined by research that would kindle a desire in classroom teachers to advance their skill levels and increase their knowledge and understanding of how children learn. Data for this study was collected from classroom teachers in Mississippi using a researcher-made online survey that was correlated with the eight characteristics of effective professional development listed in Mississippi's professional development model (MDE, 1998) and the seven professional learning standards provided by Learning Forward (2011). Overall findings revealed that Mississippi public school teachers perceive that their educational leaders do an adequate job of providing professional learning opportunities that have improved student achievement. Additionally, participants perceived that the use of technology has enhanced their professional development experiences. However, some effective professional development practices are inequitable across Mississippi and are in need of improvement. Results from this study revealed that the majority of participants are not satisfied with their professional development experiences, specifically in the areas of learning communities, data collection and teacher input, and on-going support.