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Assignment 1: Teacher Professional Development Experiences

Suppose you are the lead analyst (or analytics team) for a consortium of individuals interested in Georgia teachers’ professional development experiences. Working with your team (which includes researchers, teachers, school leaders, and district- and state-level administrators), you collected data from a sample of elementary (K-5) teachers in the state of Georgia. As is typical of such projects when representatives from a variety of stakeholders’ groups are invited to participate, there are a large number research questions that need to be answered.

The population of interest for the study was all elementary (K-5) teachers in the state of Georgia. Using a census sampling approach, elementary teachers were recruited using (1) emails sent to their work email addresses, (2) announcements during faculty meetings at school, and (3) invitations distributed via school mailboxes. The data file provided includes the data from all members of the population who chose to participate.

While your research team recognizes the importance of all professional development experiences, the state-level stakeholders in the consortium requested that the data be collected in such a way as to help them to better understand the professional development needs of teachers specific to the areas of (a) scientific inquiry, (b) mathematics, and (c) RTI-based literacy. The teachers included in the census sample were randomly assigned to one of these three conditions (science, math, literacy), and the invitations to participate that they received directed them to one of these three versions of the survey instrument.

All data were collected via Qualtrics, an online survey platform. Participation was anonymous; no identifying information was collected. Your research group decided that instead of creating a new instrument for this study, it would use an existing instrument, the TeachersSpeak Teacher Professional Development Survey (described in Glover, Nugent, Chumney, Ihlo, Shapiro, Guard et al., 2016), which was designed to measure demographic information as well as professional development participation, perceptions, and classroom practices pertaining to the four areas of interest to your stakeholders. Detailed information about the items and coding of responses are presented in the Professional Development Study Codebookdocument.

1. What are the demographic characteristics of the sample, overall and disaggregated by content area

2. In what ways, if any, do the characteristics of recent professional development experiences of Georgia elementary teachers differ across the content areas of scientific inquiry, mathematics and RTI-based literacy?

3. What is the nature of the relationship between science content knowledge and perceived importance of topical foci?

4. Write your own research question based on the data that are available to you. Analyze the data and present the findings as part of your report.

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