Professional growth plans for clock hours: Effects of Washington state education policy on student outcomes
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Since 1987 Washington State has mandated a set number of hours of continuing education from approved providers for teachers to maintain certification. In 2005, in an effort to link teacher professional development more closely to personalized student learning and stronger student achievement, Washington’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction began allowing districts to offer teachers the option of earning continuing education clock hours through individualized professional growth plans. Professional growth plans are thought to have characteristics indicative of high quality professional development that can positively impact student gains, and were developed to support Washington State goals for transitioning teachers from continuing education that is measured in “seat-time” to a performance-based system driven by teacher and student needs. This study examines the effects of this policy on student outcomes at the school level. Because low participation rates among teachers in Washington preclude a statewide study of the effects of the Professional Growth Plan for Clock Hours policy, this study involves Kennewick School District, the only district currently using professional growth plans for clock hours with any regularity. The study compares schools in the top and bottom quartiles of teacher professional growth plan participation rates, using school level Kennewick School District student achievement data, and finds mixed evidence of positive outcomes at the school level from the 2005 Washington State policy adoption allowing professional growth plans for accruing clock hours.
- MA in Policy Studies