The Critical Role of a Well-Articulated, Coherent Design in Professional Development: an Evaluation of a State-Wide Two-Week Program for Mathematics and Science Teachers

Document Type


Publication Title

Professional Development in Education 

Publication Date



Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education


Department of Education


This evaluation study examined a state-wide professional development program composed of two institutes, one for mathematics teachers and one for science teachers, each spanning two weeks. The program was designed to help teachers transform their practice to align with Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and Next Generation Science Standards. Data from this mixed-methods design consisted of observations, interviews, focus groups, institute documents and participant surveys. Participants experienced inquiry-based, content-specific, focused grade-band sessions, yet in some ways results indicated that the experiences fell short of having a potentially transformative effect on classroom teaching. The evaluation used a professional development framework to analyze how a seemingly well-designed program became disconnected from the participants’ classroom teaching experience. Recommendations focus on ways for policy-makers, school leaders and professional development facilitators to use the professional development framework to bridge gaps identified by the evaluation.