Organizational commitment to staff development: the design of an instrument to measure the effectiveness of teacher staff development programs

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Virginia Tech

The purpose of this study was to develop an assessment instrument which could by utilized by school systems to determine the extent to which their staff development programs for teachers reflected characteristics of effective staff development programs. Those characteristics or attributes which were recognized consistently across the literature by leading educational practitioners, consultants, and staff developers, were identified and used as indicators of effective staff development programs. Identified characteristics were grouped in four domains: Validation of Staff Development; Resources for Staff Development; Accommodation of Adult Learning Needs; and, Climate to Support Staff Development.

Based on identified attributes, a questionnaire was developed which provided a measure of the effectiveness of a school system's staff development program. The questionnaire was field tested, modified, then sent to a stratified random sample of 45 school systems in North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. Six weeks later, the questionnaire was again sent to the same sample. Data from the two administrations of the questionnaire were analyzed to determine the validity and reliability of the instrument.

Although a number of specialists in the field of staff development have identified a variety of practices which they believe to be effective, there currently is no adequate model or mechanism for comprehensive evaluation of existing staff development programs. The study resulted in the development of an instrument which will enable school systems to reflect critically on their existing programs and to plan for program improvement.