Publications & Resources

Collaborative, School-Based Professional Development Settings for Teachers: Implementation and Links to Improving the Quality of Classroom Practice and Student Learning

Jun 2002

Lindsay Clare Matsumura and Joan Rector Steinberg

This study investigated the implementation and influence of an innovation professional development program—Critical Friends Groups (CFG)—in urban elementary, middle, and high schools. The purpose of this program was to create collaborative, school-based professional development settings in schools that would support teacher self-reflection and improvement in instructional practice. Results indicated that coaches and teachers were very positive overall about their participation in Critical Friends Groups. Specifically, teachers reported that the groups had positively influenced their attitudes toward colleagues and their school, and had helped improve their instructional practice and student learning in their classroom. Teachers were very positive about the quality of the feedback they received in their groups. Observations of groups and analyses of teachers’ assignments and student work yielded mixed results, however, with regard to the quality of feedback offered to participants during group meetings, and links to instructional practice. Recommendations for improving the implementation of these types of professional development settings included scheduling meetings more frequently as part of the normal school day for teachers, focusing group activities on looking at student work and conducting regular peer observations, improving the quality of feedback offered to members, and establishing clear and concrete goals that are aligned with larger reform goals for groups and individual members.

Matsumura, L. C., & Steinberg, J. R. (2002). Collaborative, school-based professional development settings for teachers: Implementation and links to improving the quality of classroom practice and student learning (CSE Report 568). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).