Focused Teacher Professional Development to Improve the Literacy Performance of Middle School Students in Alberta, Canada
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The purpose of this applied dissertation was to examine whether focused teacher professional development in the area of literacy correlated to increased student academic performance in Alberta, Canada. This research study examines the relationship between middle school teachers who incorporated literacy strategies into their daily lessons and student academic ability. Employing a quantitative research methodology, Grade 8 Control and Experimental student groups were measured using a standardized reading screen administered at the beginning and the end of separate school years. Grade 8 cross-subject teachers were given four full-day professional development sessions that focused on high-yield literacy strategies over a 10-month period. Then, examining the two sets of Grade 8 student standardized test scores through a reliability-corrected ANCOVA, a correlation was calculated to determine if teacher professional development had an effect on student performance. Results from the study showed that there was no significant relationship between teacher professional development in the area of literacy and an increase in student academic performance as demonstrated through the Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test (GMRT). The importance of this study is relative to the issue of Grade 8 teachers incorporating literacy strategies into their daily instructional techniques and the global need for middle and high school communities to examine the pedagogical practices of all subject teachers in terms of literacy integration.