The Beliefs of Administrators: What Makes Professional Development Effective?


Emily Lutrick

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award

Fall 2012


With the passing of legislation like the No Child Left Behind Act (2002) and an increased focus on continuous improvement in public education, professional development has progressed from a passive form of learning for educators to a process in which educators are interacting, collaborating, and learning through various methods. This study utilized a mixed methods approach employing primarily a qualitative focus using phenomenological research procedures. The purpose of this study was to uncover what practices administrators believe to be effective when instituting professional development on their campus. Additionally, the researcher also measured the level at which the participating administrators believed their current practices were when aligned to the National Staff Development Council's standards for professional learning. Interview data revealed four themes that administrators believed to comprise effective professional development practice. The themes were interactive learning experiences, needs-based content, practical application of content, and follow-up and on-going practices. The quantitative data suggest that the participating administrators believe their professional development practices support the notion that professional development is seen as a key component to continuous improvement on their campus and is an integral part of their campus culture. The participants' beliefs about their practices were high when related to the professional development standard of leadership and were lowest when related to the evaluation standard.


Susan Szabo

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Leadership