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FIGURE 5-2 Professional development index relative to percent of students meeting science standards. Professional development of teachers increases student achievement in science. The scatter plot shows the PD index (total professional development hours per 100 students provided over a 3-year period to the teachers of 5th graders who took the WASL in spring 2004) compared with the percentage of students who met the WASL standards. Each box represents a school. There is a gradual increase in the percentage of students meeting the standard as the PD index increases. The data suggest the rate of increase accelerated after teachers received a critical amount of professional development, although the exact point at which that change occurred cannot be determined without access to classroom-level aggregates and the ability to track the professional development of the teachers of individual students. The relationship between professional development and student achievement holds even after adjustments for the influence of percentage of students eligible for free and reduced-price lunches and for the percentage of Asian students.

SOURCE: D. Schatz, D. Weaver, and P. D. Finch. Washington State LASER—Evaluation Results. WSTA Journal (July 22, 2005).

The system of national laboratories also can be tapped for continuing education of K–12 teachers. The Laboratory Science Teacher Professional Development program was designed by the Office of Science in the Department of Energy (DOE) to create a cadre of outstanding middle and high school science and mathematics teachers who will serve as leaders in their local and regional teaching communities.27 Through this 3-year program, teachers establish long-term relationships with DOE mentor scientists and


US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists. “Laboratory Science Teacher Professional Development Program: About LSTPD.” Available at:

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