Cover: Professional Development Participation and the Role of Administrator Involvement in the Math Science Partnership of Southwest Pennsylvania

Professional Development Participation and the Role of Administrator Involvement in the Math Science Partnership of Southwest Pennsylvania

Published Nov 8, 2006

by Jennifer L. Steele, John F. Pane, Valerie L. Williams, Stuart S. Olmsted

Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.2 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

The Math Science Partnership of Southwest Pennsylvania (MSP) (part of the National Science Foundation’s Math and Science Partnership initiative) aims to improve math and science education by partnering higher education institutions with K-12 schools districts. The specific goals of the MSP are to increase K-12 students’ knowledge of math and science, increase the quality of the K-16 educator workforce, and create sustainable working relationships between higher education institutions and K-12 districts through coordination by the Intermediate Units. This study focuses on the implementation of professional development, examining district and school administrators’ roles in facilitating professional development participation among school staff in 48 school districts. Professional development seems most successful when it is connected to the student curriculum and when teachers are given time to focus on the relevant content and pedagogy. Because building leadership capacity lies at the heart of the MSP theory of action, the key question was to assess how administrators’ participation in MSP activities was related to participation of their staff members, with analysis that used a database of participation hours, maintained by the MSP. Findings show positive relationships between administrative leadership in central offices and professional growth and development of school staff, which is consistent with the study’s hypothesis that administrator participation is related to staff participation. Although these findings cannot be interpreted as causal, they do support the idea that MSP participation at the top of a school district’s organizational hierarchy is related to that among individuals working in schools.

The research described in this report was prepared for the Allegheny Intermediate Unit and conducted by RAND Education.

This report is part of the RAND working paper series. RAND working papers are intended to share researchers' latest findings and to solicit informal peer review. They have been approved for circulation by RAND but may not have been formally edited or peer reviewed.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.