How effective is professional development for improving children’s educational outcomes?

July 24, 2018

Impact of In-Service Professional Development Programs for Early Childhood Teachers on Quality Ratings and Child Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis

News Summary: This meta-analysis examines the impact of professional development on program quality and educational outcomes for children in early childhood programs. The study attempts to answer three questions: (1) evaluate the impact of in-service programs for early childhood professional development, (2) identify program characteristics that moderate the effects of training on quality of service, and (3) identify the links between in-service training to childhood outcomes. To be included in this analysis a study must address staff development for early childhood instructors, be a quantitative experimental or quasi-experimental study, and report effect sizes or comparable data. The study reported a positive impact on the quality of services as evidenced by scores on Classroom Assessment Scoring System, Early Language and Literacy Classroom Observation, Environmental Rating Scales, and Individualized Classroom Assessment Scoring System. A medium effect size of 0.68 was found for improving process outcomes. A second meta-analysis of nine studies provided data on both quality ratings and child development and showed a small effect at child outcomes ES = 0.14. The study found great variances across professional development programs. The researchers established that intensity, duration, and training formats were critical factors in the determination of which programs offering the most effective services. This is not surprising as professional development encompasses a myriad of different practices; some effective and others that produce poor outcomes. This study found programs offering 45-60 hours of training had the greatest impact on process and child outcomes. Programs that offered coaching as an integral component of the training were almost three times as effective as programs that did not.

Citation:Egert, F., Fukkink, R. G., & Eckhardt, A. G. (2018). Impact of in-service professional development programs for early childhood teachers on quality ratings and child outcomes: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 88(3), 401-433.