Research Review

Study offers keen insights into professional development research

By Joellen Killion
October 2017
Vol. 38 No 5
At a glance Rethinking how to analyze and conduct research on professional development yields new insights to inform practice. The study Kennedy, M. (2016). How does professional development improve teaching? Review of Educational Research, 86(4), 945-980. WHAT THE STUDY SAYS A new approach to analyzing professional development research provides both researchers and education practitioners useful information to guide their practice. Study description Mary Kennedy conducts a review and analysis of the research on professional development in K-12 U.S. schools in the core content areas published since 1975. Acknowledging that past reviews of professional development research based on its core features have insufficiently considered the variance in research designs and professional development content and design, Kennedy approaches the review with different theories of action about how professional

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Joellen Killion ( is senior advisor to Learning Forward. In each issue of The Learning Professional, Killion explores a recent research study to help practitioners understand the impact of particular professional learning practices on student outcomes.


Learning Forward. (2011). Standards for Professional Learning. Oxford, OH: Author.

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