The Power of The Science of Learning in Action

What happens when teachers start using science of learning principles? A new, rigorous study suggests some very powerful outcomes for students.

A group of researchers have been exploring the question of what happens when teachers get professional development based on the science of learning.

Their latest research article explores the effectiveness of two approaches to teacher professional development at improving middle school students’ science achievement. It’s also one of the largest, most rigorous tests of the idea of applying the science of learning to teacher professional development, involving 90 schools, 267 teachers, and nearly 12,000 students.

The result? Students learn more when teachers apply science of learning principles in the classroom. A science of learning professional development program produced better student outcomes than the existing professional development program and better student outcomes than a program focused on giving teachers greater content knowledge on what they teach.

This is promising news to those arguing for wider application of these research-based methods. But the results also suggest that increasing teacher professional development time, lowering administrative hurdles to reform, and reducing teacher turnover are also keys to effective professional development.  

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