TeacherLine Research

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TeacherLine Research Examines Educational Service Agencies' Role in Professional Development

As part of PBS' effort to analyze how teacher professional development is provided across the country by various state and local agencies, PBS TeacherLine's independent project evaluator, Hezel Associates, conducted an online survey of Education Service Agencies (ESAs) to determine what role they play in fostering teacher professional development. (For the purpose of this survey ESAs were defined as public entities created by state statute, to provide educational support programs and services to local schools and school districts within given geographic areas.)

The purpose of the research was to identify the types of professional development services offered by ESAs, determine whether they provide professional development to providers of building-level professional development (e.g. instructional coaches), and examine how services are funded and evaluated. The online survey generated 80 responses from 27 states. Key findings include the following:

  • ESAs provide coaching and professional development for coaching to the districts they serve. About two-thirds provide on-site coaching and about 70 percent report providing training or professional development for building level professional development providers.
  • ESAs primarily provide professional development through traditional conferences and workshops. Approximately one third use asynchronous distance learning, where the learners use self-paced individual schedules. Nearly 50 percent use video conferencing as a delivery method.
  • ESAs are funded through a broad array of federal, state and local sources.
  • ESAs are more likely than local districts to evaluate professional development via immediate survey, and much less likely to look at student performance.

For more information about the survey effort or other research PBS has conducted on professional development nationwide (with district administrators, principals, and teachers) please contact Melinda George by emailing mggeorge@pbs.org.