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Same program, different outcomes

Same program, different outcomes: Understanding differential effects of teacher professional development programs.In recent decades, promising frameworks of critical features of high-quality teacher professional development (PD) programs have been proposed. However, recent studies have shown it to be remarkably difficult to affect instructional practices, even when the offered PD is designed in relation to such frameworks. Funding: 6 millions (SEK)

Project manager at MDU

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Using a mixed-methods design to analyze video recordings of ~170 lessons by, 200 interviews with, and 150 collegial discussions among mathematics teachers who have participated in a Swedish national-scale PD program, we contribute to research that has the potential to refine these critical features. Particularly, we adhere to two calls in the research literature. Firstly, previous studies of teacher PD have emphasized average effects. We complement these studies by examining between-teacher differences in the PD’s effects. Preliminary results indicate that these differences cannot be explained by seemingly evident factors, such as teachers’ education or knowledge for teaching. We therefore emphasize teachers’ visions of high-quality instruction, a construct shown to have explanatory power in current studies of teacher PD. Secondly, as research on teacher PD has mainly stressed teachers’ cognitive constructs, studies adhering to the context of the PD’s implementation are needed. We complement previous studies by exploring how instructional visions constituted in PD materials, teachers, and the national context may explain the effects of PD.

Per Nilsson, Professor, Linnaeus University External link, opens in new window. is also a member in the research project.

The overarching aim:

The overarching aim is to contribute to the theorization of Coherence by deepening our understanding of the between-teacher differences in what teachers change in their instruction throughout PD participation.

The overarching goal:

The overarching goal of the project is to refine the critical feature frameworks of high-quality PD and thereby reinforce the design of PD programs, which can better support teachers in developing their mathematics instruction.

Activites in the project:

  • Analysis of video recordings of approx. 170 lessons, 200 interviews and 150 collegial discussions of teachers who have participated in Boost for mathematics, a PD-program that has engaged more than 30,000 mathematics teachers in Sweden.
  • Communication of results through scientific and popular science articles, as well as presentations at relevant conferences.
  • International cooperation with a reference group.

This research relates to the following sustainable development goals