Identifying practices that facilitate effective implementation and sustainability of research-based professional development strategies
This study was designed to determine whether significant differences existed in the level of implementation of a professional development strategy, the attitude of teachers toward this professional development strategy, and the knowledge of teachers regarding this professional development strategy. After teachers were trained on the professional development strategy, three treatments were utilized in the project: administrative observations and feedback, participation in a professional learning community (PLC), or training follow-up. Twenty-four teachers from four different schools in a school district in South Mississippi participated in the project over an 8 week time period. This quasi-experimental study collected pre- and post-treatment data using a researcher-created questionnaire. Data analysis showed significantly higher posttreatment means for all groups in all subscales: knowledge, attitude, and implementation. After a mean difference between pre-treatment and post-treatment questionnaires was computed, analysis showed that the training follow-up group had a significantly higher mean rating for the subscales of knowledge and attitude, but not implementation, when compared to administrative observation and feedback and PLCs. This study showed administrative observation and feedback, PLCs, and training follow-up all had a significant effect on the implementation and sustainability of professional development practices. Conclusions from this research show that utilizing aspects of the reform models of professional development as opposed to single event professional development sessions will facilitate the implementation and sustainability of the practice.