A report from the Education Policy Institute (EPI) reviews the evidence on the impact of continuing professional development (CPD) for teachers, and finds that high-quality CPD can play a role in improving teaching quality.
Commissioned by Wellcome, the rapid review and meta-analysis examined 52 randomised controlled trials evaluating CPD programmes for teachers in order to establish their impact on pupil and teacher outcomes. These were trials of interventions that went beyond current practice in school, and might include training courses, mentoring, seminars and peer review.
The findings of the report suggest that high-quality CPD has a positive effect on pupils’ learning outcomes with an effect size of +0.09. The review also suggests that the availability of high-quality CPD may have a positive impact on teacher retention, particularly for early-career teachers.
Source: the effects of high-quality professional development on teachers and students: A rapid review and meta-analysis (February 2020), The Education Policy Institute
The Education Endowment Foundation has published an evaluation of a programme that trains early years teachers to improve children’s language outcomes. The Using Research Tools to Improve Language in the Early Years (URLEY) intervention is an evidence-based professional development programme for early years teachers. It is designed to improve teacher’s knowledge of how children learn and develop oral language skills, and how to support that learning through evidence-based practice.
Teachers take part in five day-long
professional development workshops in which they are introduced to
evidence-based learning principles and research tools to evaluate and refine
pedagogy and practice. In particular, teachers are taught to use Environment
Rating Scales (ERS) – research-validated observational rating scales known to
predict aspects of children’s development, with higher scores linked to
improved maths and English achievement. Teachers watched videos of effective
practice and were supported to use the language principles and ERS to “tune in”
to language-supporting practice.
Nearly 2,000 children from 120 schools from the West Midlands,
Liverpool and Manchester participated in the study from October 2016 to July
2018. The programme was evaluated using a randomised controlled trial, testing
the impact of the URLEY programme on children’s language development over two
years, compared to business as usual in control schools.
The results of the trial found that children in schools receiving
URLEY did not make additional progress in language development compared to
children in control schools, as measured by a composite language score (effect
size = -0.08). However, the programme did show a positive impact on the quality
of teaching (as measured by ERS), with effect sizes in the range of +0.5 to +0.7.
evaluation report (February 2020), Education
Approaches to professional development that combine coaching or mentoring with new knowledge and opportunities for reflection on practice may be the most effective in improving outcomes in early childhood settings, according to a study published in Review of Education.
Sue Rogers and colleagues conducted the systematic review, which
was funded by the Nuffield Foundation, in order to examine the impact of
professional learning and development. The studies included in the review
identify approaches to professional learning that demonstrate impact on early
childhood education on one or more outcomes across three main areas: literacy
knowledge and skills, maths and science knowledge, and social-emotional and behavioural
The findings from the review suggest that coaching models, and
approaches that help develop pedagogical knowledge, may be the most effective
in improving outcomes in early childhood settings. The evidence on duration,
frequency and intensity of the professional learning, although likely to be
important factors, was inconclusive.
systematic review of the evidence base for professional learning in early years
education (The PLEYE Review) (February 2020), Review of Education, Vol 8, No 1
This Campbell systematic review looks at the effect of continuing professional development (CPD) approaches for education professionals on educational and social outcomes for children, and also any effects on professional practice.
The review summarises evidence from 51 studies, including 48
randomised controlled trials, however, only 26 studies were included in the
meta-analysis. The 51 studies were grouped into three CPD areas: social and
emotional development interventions, language and literacy development
interventions, and stress reduction interventions.
The main findings of the review were:
- No effect of CPD on social and emotional
development interventions on pupil academic outcomes. The weighted average
effect size = +0.05.
- No effect of CPD language and literacy
development interventions on pupil academic outcomes. The weighted average
effect size = +0.04.
- It was not possible to draw any conclusions
concerning the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of CPD on social and emotional
development or language and literacy development interventions on teacher
- As there was only one study in the CPD category
of stress reduction interventions, it was not possible to draw any conclusions.
The researchers conclude that there is insufficient evidence
for conclusions to be drawn, with the exception of language and literacy
development interventions. For this type of CPD, there seems to be no positive
impact on pupil academic outcomes.
of continuing professional development training of welfare professionals on
outcomes for children and young people: A systematic review (November 2019), Campbell Systematic Reviews
Research published in AERA Open examines the features needed for effective teacher professional development (PD) aimed at preparing teachers to support their pupils in mastering language expectations across the curriculum.
Eva Kalinowski and
colleagues conducted a systematic review of studies of PD programmes, published
between 2002 and 2015, which aimed to support teachers to improve their pupils’
academic language ability in different subject areas. Of the 38 studies they reviewed,
all but one were carried out in the US. Eighteen studies used quantitative data
only, three used a mainly qualitative approach, and 17 used mixed methods.
Although the researchers
were unable to conclude which elements actually influenced the effectiveness of
the programmes analysed, they found that all of the studies were effective to
some extent, and shared many characteristics considered to be important in
successful teacher PD across different subject areas. The forms of PD likely to
show some effect for teachers and pupils in this area:
- were long-term intensive programmes that included multiple learning opportunities aimed at elaborating and practising newly learned knowledge and strategies
- provided practical assistance
- enabled and encouraged teachers to work together
- considered teachers’ needs as well as pupils’ learning processes and languages spoken at home.
Source: Effective professional development
for teachers to foster students’ academic language proficiency across the curriculum:
A systematic review (February 2-19), AERA
A meta-analysis published in Review of Educational Research summarises findings from studies that evaluated the effects of in-service training for early childhood teachers on the quality of early childhood education and care (ECEC) and child outcomes. Overall, data from 36 studies with 2,891 teachers was included in the analysis. For studies to qualify, child care quality had to be measured externally with certified raters at the classroom level.
The analysis, carried out by Franziska Egert and colleagues, revealed that at the teacher level, in-service training had a positive effect on the quality of ECEC, with an effect size of +0.68. Furthermore, a subset of nine studies (including 486 teachers and 4,504 children) that provided data on both quality ratings and child development were analysed, and they showed a small effect at the child level (effect size = + 0.14) and a medium effect at the corresponding classroom level (effect size = +0.45).
Source: Impact of In-Service Professional Development Programs for Early Childhood Teachers on Quality Ratings and Child Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis, Review of Educational Research, 88:3 401 – 433.