Teacher Professional Development and Student Literacy Growth: a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis


This systematic review explores the impact of teacher professional development (PD) on student reading achievement. The first part of the literature evaluates all available existing systematic reviews and meta-analyses of PD intervention studies. No quality reviews of PD and reading specifically (distinct from ‘attainment’) were found. There was a little overlap of studies in existing reviews. The second part of the systematic review focuses on the most recent intervention studies exploring PD and student reading achievement. The results of a meta-analysis of all high-quality studies are presented in the third part of the paper. This analysis showed no strong evidence of publication bias and an effect size for PD on student literacy of g = 0.225. This effect was moderated by the number of hours of PD whereby studies with fewer than 30 h of PD was significant for student reading outcomes (g = 0.367, p < 0.001) but more than 30 PD hours was not significant (g = 0.143, p > .05). Following a Weight of Evidence assessment, analysis showed that nearly all high-quality articles involved shorter PD. Weight of Evidence was a significant moderator, (g = 0.408, p < 0.001 for high-quality studies, g = 0.077, p > 0.5, n.s., for medium quality studies). Our review suggests that only high-quality studies of short teacher PD currently provide evidence of impact on student’s reading achievement.

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* References denoted with an asterisk are included in the meta-analysis

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Correspondence to Badriah Basma.

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Appendix 1

Appendix 1

Table 1 Key search term for meta-analysis and systematic review on reading and literacy
Fig. 1

PRISMA flow diagram

Table 2 Features of professional development in the 17 studies of the literature review
Table 3 Effects of professional development student achievement by study
Table 4 Quality code of assessment for the 17 studies
Table 5 WOE (Weight of Evidence)

Appendix 2

Fig. 2

Funnel plot based on the 17 studies in the meta-analysis

Table 6 Effect sizes, confidence intervals, z-values and p values for all studies
Table 7 Content analysis of all 17 studies

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Basma, B., Savage, R. Teacher Professional Development and Student Literacy Growth: a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Educ Psychol Rev 30, 457–481 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10648-017-9416-4

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  • Systematic review
  • Meta-analysis
  • Teacher professional development
  • Reading