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Growing the Evidence Base for Professional Learning


Written by Leading Educators Editorial Team

Growing the Evidence Base for Professional Learning

Proving What’s Possible

Few educators receive adequate professional learning on grade-level standards and the curricular materials they use with students, hindering students’ access to lessons that meet their full potential. The evidence is evolving on which types of professional development models show improvements in teacher practice and student learning, with more work to be done to identify effective models.

That’s why our team at Leading Educators has invested significant capacity in developing tools that help us better understand how school systems, teaching, and student learning improve. These efforts are highlighted in the Overdeck Family Foundation’s 2022 Grant Making and Impact Report.

What We’re Learning

During a webinar on February 9, Chong-Hao Fu presented highlights from the past year, including a multi-year study of our teacher leadership fellowships in four states and a randomized control trial of our curriculum-based professional learning partnership with Chicago Public Schools.

Each of these offers important proof points to counter the dominant narrative about professional development, showing a significant and enduring impact that exceeds that of most school-based interventions.

Because education systems are complex, many studies find null or even negative results from programs. Only 10% of i3 teacher professional learning evaluations reviewed as of 2018 demonstrated at least 1 statistically significant, positive treatment effect on ELA or math across any year of the i3 grant implementation.

These findings counter that trend, indicating the untapped potential of relevant, curriculum-based professional learning systems to make a real difference for students.”

Looking Forward

Leading Educators is committed to bolstering knowledge within the K-12 sector about effective practice. Through the Research Partnership for Professional Learning, we are producing research alongside our own internal evaluation to better understand factors and models of transformational professional learning.

Later this spring, we are excited to share findings from four years of partnership with Tulsa Public Schools. Early analysis shows that professional learning increased retention among novice teachers at a time when many school systems are concerned about staffing shortages. Stay tuned!

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