Test your professional development IQ

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1. You have volunteered for a committee that must select staff development for your elementary school. Which of the following topics likely would produce the largest gains in student achievement?

a. The latest research on how children’s brains develop.

b. Understanding learning styles; for instance, whether certain students learn best by seeing or hearing.

c. Strategies for teaching specific math content at each grade level.

2. Your elementary school has low standardized test scores in reading, math, social studies and science. To boost achievement, teachers will need to change their teaching significantly. Your school has 13 professional development sessions scheduled for the school year. How should you allocate your time?

a. Divide it equally among the four subject areas.

b. Devote all the time to reading.

c. Split it equally between reading and math.

3. You are a high school principal striving to raise reading achievement. Your teachers have not been trained to teach reading. To assist them, you have scheduled 10 in-services taught by highly regarded reading experts. However, there is no time for teachers to meet to plan, reflect and problem solve as they try the new strategies. What percentage of your teachers are likely to implement them?

a. 10 percent. Only a handful of teachers will use what they learned.

b. 50 percent. Some teachers will try, some won’t.

c. 90 percent. Teachers taught by experts won’t need help from their colleagues.

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4. You are a school district superintendent with limited funds for professional development for teachers. Which is the better option?

a. Ensure that all teachers get some professional development even if it means cutting back on quality.

b. Provide high-quality training but for fewer teachers.

5. The Consortium on Chicago School Research looked at growth school by school on the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills between 1990 and 1996. Which school characteristic was associated with the biggest improvement?

a. Students were predominantly middle class.

b. Schools had at least average test scores to begin with.

c. Teachers trusted each other.