Investigating Teacher Perceptions of Professional Development and Student Achievement in Rural Maryland


Author/Creator ORCID




Department of Educational Professions


Doctor of Education, Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)

Citation of Original Publication


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This dissertation addresses 12 questions related to an overall investigation designed to determine if there is a relationship between teacher perceptions of professional development and student achievement in rural Maryland. During an era of federal, state, and local education reform, lessons learned could help dramatically redesign professional development for the future. “Pedagogical Content Knowledge” (PCK) coined in 1986 by Lee Shulman, a past president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and the 1995 book written by Stephen Brookfield Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher helped to form the conceptual framework of this study. Twelve elements relating to professional development were part of the questions on the Teaching, Empowering, Leading, and Learning (TELL) Maryland Survey of 2011 and 2013. The change in these TELL Maryland Survey teacher perceptions was correlated with the change in student High School Assessment (HSA) senior exit exam results for the same time period. Data were included from 79% (11,365 of 14,368) of teachers in 80% (63 of 79) of all rural high schools in Maryland that reported HSA senior exit exam data and responded at a 50% or higher rate on both studied years of the TELL Maryland Survey. After analyzing statewide data, disaggregated by five regions, it was determined that three professional development elements had positive correlations and nine had negative correlations, although none of these were statistically significant. Those elements that correlated most positively with student achievement (with shortened titles used in the study) were collaboration, reflect(ion), and time. The literature review provided insight into some possible reasons for these results.