TitleResearch on Professional Development and Teacher Change: Implications Adult Basic Education
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsSmith, C, Gillespie, M
Book TitleReview of Adult Learning and Literacy
PublisherNational Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy
CityCambridge, MA
KeywordsAdult Education, Professional Development, Research, Teacher Quality

There is no doubt that the current educational climate is driven by an overriding concern with student achievement and what promotes it. This is true in K–12 education and, increasingly, in adult basic education (ABE) as well. The role of teachers in student achievement is central to this concern. According to the U.S. Department of Education, “research confirms that teachers are the single most important factor in raising student achievement.”39 Higher standards for teachers accompany the push for higher standards for students and greater accountability for student learning, and professional development is a critical link among new policies, school reform, and improved educational practice (Knapp, 2003). In this chapter we draw on the K–12 and adult literacy education research literature to examine two topics: (a) what is known about what makes teacher professional development effective, and (b) how teachers change as a result of professional development. Before addressing these topics, we briefly summarize a few of the key research studies that have underscored the central role of teachers in student achievement.