Designing an Impact Evaluation of Teacher Preparation and Professional Development

2015-2016
Prepared for
U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences

Although research shows that teachers have an important influence on student achievement, it has been unable to explain why teacher quality varies, or to provide guidance on critical predictors of teacher effectiveness. This study provided comprehensive recommendations for a rigorous evaluation of promising approaches to training and supporting effective teachers.

After identifying a set of promising teacher preparation and professional development activities, we conducted in-depth interviews with officials from selected programs to learn more about the feasibility of conducting an evaluation of the promising activities we have identified. Based on our findings from these interviews, we prepared a report laying out design options for a future evaluation to provide rigorous evidence on the effectiveness of these activities. The recommendations from this report served as the basis for a large-scale impact evaluation of feedback for teachers based on classroom videos that Mathematica is currently conducting for the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences