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Measuring Feature-Level Participation and Efficacy with Online Teacher Professional Development (oTPD)

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posted on 01.08.2020, 00:00 by Jeremy Riel
Over the last three decades, there have been substantial advances in the literature on understanding the essential design principles and necessary features of teacher professional development (PD) programs to support implementation of new curricula and standards. However, although there is a consensus in the research community on the design principles for PD programs, the field also lacks evidence on the specific technologies, media, and strategies for implementing professional development design principles in an effective way. To address this gap in the literature, this dissertation investigated the design of an online teacher professional development (oTPD) program focused on supporting teachers’ voluntary first-time implementation of a novel curriculum called GlobalEd, and whether this program had any effect on both teachers’ implementation adherence and subsequent student achievement. The PD program was analyzed at the feature level by measuring the degree to which each design feature in the PD was used by the participating teachers (n = 41 teachers). To examine whether participation in PD features predicted teachers’ adherence to curriculum implementation tasks, OLS regression models were used to identify that more “active” PD design features that encouraged mindful participation, like message board discussions and generating written projects were found to have a positive predictive effect on curriculum adherence. Conversely, passive media features like email reading and video watching were found to not have any effect in predicting adherence. Finally, hierarchical linear models (HLM) with students nested within teachers’ classrooms were used to investigate whether teachers’ participation in PD features had a predictive effect on student achievement (n = 773 students). No significant predictive effects were observed on both PD participation or adherence on student achievement. As a result, this dissertation provides direct evidence on the efficacy of specific implementation media and technologies that map to long-standing accepted PD design principles. Commitments to design principles that emphasize active learning and relevance to practice are specifically supported. In addition, this dissertation emphasizes the necessity of researchers’ mindfulness of data grain size and the importance of conducting basic research in teacher professional development to ensure that meaningful effects of PD can be observed.



Lawless, Kimberly A.


Lawless, Kimberly A.


Educational Psychology

Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level


Degree name

PhD, Doctor of Philosophy

Committee Member

Thomas, Michael K. Yin, Yue Brown, Scott W. Lynn, Lisa J.

Submitted date

August 2020

Thesis type