THE PERCEIVED RELATIONSHIP OF PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ON TEACHER SELF-REPORTED USE OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS
Tresler, Tiffany D.
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Beginning in 2012 teachers from 44 states have been challenged to make significant changes in curriculum and classroom instruction to meet the rigor of the Common Core State Standards. However, available research does not provide definitive methods to impact wide-scale reform, such as Common Core Standards adoption. This preliminary, quantitative study seeks to examine professional development and one component of the Common Core. The purpose is to determine if specific teacher perceived features of professional development are related to self-reported classroom use of the six English language arts (ELA) Common Core instructional shifts. The specific professional development features studied and the statistical analysis are based on the work of Garet, Porter, Desimone, Birman, and Yoon (2001), examining what makes professional development effective. The features are type (reform vs. traditional), duration, collective participation, content focus, coherence, and active learning. The ELA instructional shifts are balancing informational and literary text, teaching reading and writing through disciplines, use of complex text, text-based answers, writing from sources, and use of academic vocabulary. The study population consists of 89 elementary school teachers in one school system in Maryland who completed a survey asking them to describe their most recent professional development experience and their classroom use of the six ELA Common Core instructional shifts. The survey is modified from the Teacher Activity Survey (Garet et al., 1999) used in a large-scale national study (Garet et al., 2001) and a follow-up three-year longitudinal study (Desimone, Porter, Garet, Yoon, & Birman, 2002). The results of the correlation and ordinary least-squares regression analysis indicate that alignment, a component of coherence, and content focus are the only two perceived professional development features that are strongly correlated with teacher self-reported use of the Common Core instructional shifts. Specifically, the feature of content focus is likely to be a predictor of reported use of students reading and writing through disciplines and writing from sources. Alignment is likely to be a predictor of the reported use of teaching students using complex text. Content focus and alignment are predictors of the reported use of the shifts in total.