Teacher professional development and its effects on reading instruction

Kristen Lea Suarez

Abstract

The world of education is an ever-evolving profession. We, as a society, have learned so much about education and how we can better benefit our students. Students depend on education to equip them with the tools needed to become successful. This dissertation addresses the need for and adequacy of today's teacher professional development in Reading instruction and how that training can translate into more meaningful classroom education. The writer surveyed elementary Reading teachers in grades 3-6 from two school districts in southern Mississippi to determine their perceptions concerning various elements of the professional development training they received during the 2009-2010 school year. The writer also collected data about how much professional development these teachers attended, how much information from the training they actually used for their classroom instruction, and whether or not they received follow-up training for help on implementation of strategies after the initial professional development session had ended. Using Language Arts standardized test scores for the 2009-2010 school year in the state of Mississippi, the writer compared test scores with how many teachers actually utilized information from professional development training for their classroom instruction. The writer hoped to find a significant relationship between using information given from professional development training and increased standardized test scores. The writer also compared test scores with how much follow-up training was given to teachers after the initial professional development session was over. The writer hoped to find a difference in test scores between those who received more follow-up training for help on implementation of strategies for classroom instruction and those who received less follow-up training. The teachers held a favorable opinion of professional development. They believed it was a worthwhile use of their time and that it increased student achievement. However, the results of this study indicated there was no significant relationship between using information from professional development and increased test scores. The results of this study also indicated there was no difference in standardized test scores regarding that the amount of follow-up training received by teachers. This information can be valuable when planning for future teacher professional development.