01 SES 01 A, Evaluating Professional Development Programmes - England, Portugal and Cameroon
In the discussion on educational quality teachers play a central role and the qualification level of teachers is seen as closely linked to teaching quality (Lewin & Stuart 2003). The general question that underlies the study is the global challenge of effective and qualitative teacher training. How can the qualification of teachers be implemented effectively? In the international discourse it is widely acknowledged that continuing professional development programmes are a relevant determining factor for educational quality (Tatto 2006; Villegas-Reimers 2003). This leads to the question, whether cost economic cascade trainings – as frequently used model for the on-the-job training of teachers – are an effective means for the professional development of teachers (Hayes 2000). The specific context of this study are countries with extreme poverty, which are characterized by limited personal and financial resources in teacher training and by the low qualification levels of teachers.
This study is concerned with the question as to whether cascade trainings in the professional development of teachers can contribute to the improvement of teaching quality. In order to answer this question, a professional development intervention with the goal of improving teaching quality through professionalizing teachers in Cameroon was analysed. The focus of the study is to analyse, whether the participation of teachers in professional development leads to differences – between teachers that participated in the professional development activities and teachers that did not participate in the activities – in the teaching practice and in the attitude of teachers towards the teaching principle of learner orientation.
The study aims to answer the following research questions: What effects of the cascade training can be estimated a) on the self-reported teaching practice of the teachers, b) on the actual teaching practice of the teachers and c) on the students’ achievement. In regards to the effectiveness of the cascade training the question is relevant, whether there are differences between teachers trained as multipliers and teachers that were trained by the multipliers on school-based level in the programme schools.
The study is based on the theoretical model of the process-product-paradigm of teaching quality. The process-product-paradigm from Haertel, Walberg & Weinstein (1983) – further developed by Helmke (2010) as offer-use-model – is used as theoretical foundation for the design of the research and the development of the data collection instruments. This theoretical framework describes how school-related, teacher-related and student-related factors refer to the process of learning and to the learning outcome of students. According to the model, data was collected on the background variables of the students, the teachers and the schools to control for the comparability of the program and control group and to control possible confounding variables.
On this basis, the analytical framework of the study is that the cascade training of the professional development programme affects the professionalism of participating teachers and that teacher professionalism has an influence on the teachers’ practice. Following, it is assumed that the teachers’ classroom practice has a mediated effect on student achievement. The theoretical chain of effect from teacher practice to student achievement was operationalized by collecting data on the students’ achievement in natural sciences.
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