Evaluation of an Innovative Professional Development Program for Queensland Teachers

23 Jun 2021

Teaching practice is an important in-school factor impacting on student outcomes. In addition to recruiting and training ‘better’ teachers, improving initial teacher education, and evaluating the quality of teaching, providing professional development to build the capacity of practising teachers is a key strategy employed globally to improve teaching practice. 

Researchers at the Teachers and Teaching Research Centre (TTRC) at the University of Newcastle have developed and rigorously tested a professional development intervention—Quality Teaching Rounds (QTR)—that aims to support teachers to improve their teaching practice. At the core of the approach is a Quality Teaching Model that focuses on three key concepts:

  • The need for intellectual quality, rigour or challenge in every learning experience.
  • The need to create classroom environments that not only support students but also their learning.
  • The need to increase the significance of student learning so they can see its connection to the world beyond the classroom.

The QTR process involves teachers collaborating in professional learning communities to observe and analyse each other’s teaching over a period of weeks and reach consensus on what is working. This practice has proven successful in New South Wales where it has been evaluated to have positively impacted on both student achievement and quality of teaching; as well as having broader impacts on teacher morale, school culture and collaboration.

TTRC is expanding the implementation of QTR into Queensland schools and have engaged ISSR to conduct an independent evaluation of the program. Associate Professor Jenny Povey is leading a team to conduct an independent randomised control trial examining the effects of QTR in 52 Queensland government schools. The trial is currently collecting baseline and post-intervention information on teacher efficacy and wellbeing, as well as assessments of student reading comprehension and understanding of mathematics.

Once the data collection is completed, the team will analyse the data to assess the reliability of the implementation of QTR in each school against the standard model. It is anticipated that the findings will support the more than 100,000 registered teachers in Queensland, and their schools, to make an evidence-based decision on whether QTR should form part of their selected professional development practice and approach to improving student outcomes.

TERM: January 2021 – February 2022

TEAM: ISSR: Associate Professor Jenny Povey, Dr Sally Staton, Associate Professor Wojtek Tomaszewski, Dr Azhar Potia, Lizzie Kenney, Melindy Bellotti, Steffi Cook, Sophie Austerberry, Dr Stefanie Plage, Anne Schirmann