Study: Evidence-based PD yields dividends

New Teacher Center’s professional learning program among the new approaches boosting educator preparation
By: | October 10, 2019

Investing in evidence-based professional learning and coaching for teachers pays off in improved lifelong student outcome and cost-savings for districts, according to a new study from the New Teacher Center, a national nonprofit focused on improving student learning by accelerating educator effectiveness.

“Counting the Cost” reports that NTC’s professional learning program for new teachers yields a 22% return to the district, equivalent to a savings of nearly $1 million over a 5-year investment with one hundred new teachers per year. These results were found in a district where 90% of students were not white and 85% of students were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.

The report also found that year-over-year teacher retention was 11 percentage points higher in the NTC-supported group than in the group receiving traditional support (78% versus 67%). On average, students of NTC-supported teachers have the potential to earn $38,000 more in career lifetime earnings, generating greater long-term economic impact in their communities—equal to a return of $2.43 for every $1 invested in NTC.

“The tangible impacts of evidence-based professional learning that are outlined in our ‘Counting the Cost’ report are an inspiring and hopeful testament of the critical need to accelerate educator effectiveness,” Desmond Blackburn, CEO of NTC, said in a press release. “Our hope is that this report helps district leaders actualize the powerful changes they have the ability to initiate for their students, communities and economies by simply altering how they direct their budgets.”

More from DA: Coach approach to K-12 teacher development

In terms of better preparing educators, mentoring programs also go beyond the basics of helping educators acclimate to the classroom. Mentors must differentiate coaching based on a mentee’s needs, such as help with lesson planning, instructional strategies or classroom management, DA reported recently. New teachers credit the programs for boosting morale, while the veterans benefit when programs result in their growth as well.

School systems are also getting good results from teacher residencies, which offer more immersive and more rigorous training experiences than the typical student-teaching stint, according to a recent DA story

“You have to invest in preparing teachers in a high-quality way,” said Marisa Harford, director of teacher residencies at New York City nonprofit New Visions for Public Schools. “And if you prepare teachers in a high-quality way, they’re going to be retained longer, they’re going to be more efficacious, and they’re going to be more likely to become those leaders that you need.”

Read more: How to set up new teachers for success