Schoolzone | The effects of high-quality professional development

The effects of high-quality professional development

Date: 29.04.2020

The study, which includes analysis from Ambition Institute, examines 52 randomised controlled trials evaluating teacher development programmes, in order to establish their impact on pupil and teacher outcomes.  

Continuing professional development, which can include training courses, mentoring, seminars and peer review, can play a crucial role in improving teaching quality.


Key findings

The impact of professional development on pupils

  • High-quality CPD for teachers has a significant effect on pupils’ learning outcomes.
  • Evidence suggests that quality CPD has a greater effect on pupil attainment than other interventions schools may consider, such as implementing performance-related pay for teachers or lengthening the school day.
  • Teacher CPD may be a cost-effective intervention for improving pupil outcome
  • CPD programmes generally produce positive responses from teachers, in contrast to other interventions.


The impact of professional development on teacher retention

  • Increasing the availability of high-quality CPD has been shown to improve retention problems, particularly for early-career teachers. 
  • Induction training and mentoring programmes are particularly effective for improving retention rates early on. 

Improving access to professional development for teachers

  • Teacher turnover is a major impediment to the effectiveness of a CPD programme: those programmes that can offer flexibility to account for volatility in the teacher labour market are more likely to be successful. 
  • Professional development is more accessible for teachers and has a greater impact when it receives sustained support from school leaders. 
  • CPD programmes that make allowances for workload and limited teacher time are also likely to be more effective. 


You can download the report here.

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