Veteran teachers at the middle grades: Factors influencing participation in professional development

Nicole Diane Edgecombe, University of Pennsylvania


Since the late 1980s, educational researchers and policy makers have made increasing use of professional development as a tool to advance school reform. The rationale behind these reform measures is by helping teachers to improve their instruction, student academic achievement will increase. However, if professional development is going to improve instruction and student outcomes, it must be of a high quality and teachers must participate in it in ways that translate to their practice. This study examines professional development participation among veteran teachers at the middle grades in the Chicago Public Schools. Using quantitative and qualitative data, it looks at the types of professional development teachers participate in and the factors influencing participation. The statistical analyses provide a description of the veteran middle grade teachers and investigate the relationship between teachers' participation in professional learning opportunities and teacher- and school-level characteristics. Qualitative data collected at three school sites provides the basis for analyses of school and agentic influences on teacher learning. The purpose of the qualitative analyses is to get an indepth understanding of the individual teachers and their school and policy contexts in assessing their professional learning practices. The major findings from this study are: veteran middle grade teachers participate in more professional development than their colleagues; schools appear to be very influential in shaping the professional development participation practices of teachers; and teachers participate in professional development more frequently in schools under policy mandates that increase the supply of professional learning resources.

Subject Area

Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Edgecombe, Nicole Diane, "Veteran teachers at the middle grades: Factors influencing participation in professional development" (2002). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3072992.