This chapter draws on two sources of data collected for the Longitudinal Study of TeacherChange: 1) a baseline survey of teachers in 30 schools and 2) observations of classes for a sample of teachers (two per school) who completed the surveys.
In addition, we conducted a content analysisof the National Assessment of Educational Progress, in order to compare the content of instructionthat teachers reported in the survey to a national standards for content. In the paragraphs below, wedescribe each of these sources in turn.
Baseline Wave of the Longitudinal Teacher Survey
To gather data on teachers’ classroom teaching practices, we surveyed all teachers who teachmathematics or science in the 30 schools—one elementary, one middle, and one high school in eachof the 10 in-depth case study districts. The baseline wave of the survey, which was conducted in thefall of 1997, asked teachers to describe their teaching during the 1996-97 year.
In the survey, weasked teachers to select a year-long mathematics or science course to describe. We asked them tochoose, if possible, a course they had taught in 1996-97, were continuing to teach in 1997-98, andexpected to teach in 1998-99.The survey contained two main sections concerning teaching practices in the selected course,one on the content taught and one on pedagogy. We discuss these two sections further when wepresent our results, in subsequent sections of the chapter.Of the 575 teachers surveyed in the 30 in-depth case schools, 436 teachers (76 percent)responded.
Some teachers who responded did not teach mathematics or science during the 1996-97school year, either because they were not employed as teachers in 1996-97 or because they taughtother subjects, and thus they are not included in the analyses of classroom teaching. In addition, weexcluded some teachers from particular analyses because they did not complete all of the requireditems. The sample is 74 percent female and 18 percent minority. Six percent of the teachers in thesample are novice teachers, or teachers who have taught the surveyed subject for two or fewer years.(See Appendix C for a more complete description of the sample and response rates.)Several features of the sample should be considered in interpreting our results. First, bydesign, the sample of 30 schools is disproportionately high poverty (50 percent of the sample schoolsare high poverty, compared to the national average of 25 percent). This feature of the sample isuseful in an evaluation of the Eisenhower program, because the program targets teachers in high-poverty schools. Throughout the analyses, we tested whether differences between teachers in high-and low-poverty schools are statistically significant (at the .05 level); we note these findings onlywhen they are significant. Second, we selected the districts and schools in the sample because theyhad adopted diverse approaches to professional development, in addition to traditional workshops
The other source of teacher-level data collected as part of this evaluation is the teacher activity survey discussed inChapter 3. In the activity survey, teachers are asked to describe how professional development has changed theirinstruction. The Longitudinal Study of Teacher Change, on the other hand, will analyze changes in instruction overtime to determine the impact of professional development on instruction. Because Longitudinal Study teachers arenot judging the impact of professional development themselves, the study minimizes self-report bias.
The remaining two waves ask teachers to describe their teaching in the 1997-98 and 1998-99 years.
The response rate of high school teachers was higher than those of elementary and middle school teachers, in partbecause principals and department chairs in high school were more involved in administering the survey.