Professional Development Research Institute


Empowering Teachers with Evidence-Based Practices
Part of KUCRL since 2008

Director: Jocelyn Washburn

To study ways to design and deliver quality professional learning opportunities and support teachers and other school personnel, and to lead and inspire the international SIM™ Professional Development Network

The Professional Development Research Institute (PDRI) has been part of KUCRL since 2008. The PDRI collaborates and partners with internal units at the CRL and external research centers and universities to study the design and implementation of professional learning models in order to support teacher use of evidence-based practices. The purpose of the PDRI is to support and learn from educators who are in schools daily with the ultimate goal of improved student outcomes through effective teaching practices.

Specifically, the PDRI explores and extends research applications of KUCRL's Adaptive Professional Learning Model© (APLM). The APLM is informed by past work at the CRL and is based on foundational and rigorous research by teacher professional learning experts at other universities and organizations. The APLM is grounded in Partnership Principles (Knight, 2007) and incorporates evidence-based practices for (a) professional development, (b) instructional coaching, and (c) infrastructure support.

 The word “adaptive” in the APLM is about…

·      complex change,

·      meeting schools and teachers where they are,

·      providing flexible options to fit school and classroom context, and

·      making instructional adjustments to meet student needs.

Through partnership, the PDRI embraces a range of evidence-based practices as the focus of the APLM. To note, a key source of evidence-based practices for the APLM is the Strategic Instruction Model (SIMTM). Additionally, the PDRI organizes and shares systemic implementation tools for facilitators of professional learning to assist classroom and school-wide use of evidence-based practices in diverse settings.

Sample Research Questions

  • How do administrators support teacher implementation and experiences within a change process to learn new instructional methods and interventions?
  • Do teachers who participate in the APLM increase their sense of efficacy for and knowledge of evidence-based instructional practices?
  • Do principals who participate in the APLM increase their sense of efficacy for instructional leadership?
  • Do students whose teachers participate in APLM have higher scores on measures of knowledge than students whose teachers received a business as usual (BAU) professional development model?
  • Do students whose teachers participate in APLM have higher scores on a measure of satisfaction and confidence in learning and engaging in classroom practices than students whose teachers received a business as usual (BAU) professional development model?
  • How do online resources and tools (e.g., video-based coaching, video-conferencing) add value to professional learning experiences?
  • Do experts in professional learning, school leadership, instructional coaching, and teaching find the APLM to be comprehensive (inclusive of evidence-based features of professional learning), feasible, and usable?

Moving Research to Practice

The International Professional Development Network consists of more than 1,600 members internationally, 400 of whom actively instruct teachers in the implementation of SIM interventions and instructional practices with a focus on adolescent literacy within school change. Of this number, 40 are currently classified as professional development leaders who conduct Potential Professional Developer Institutes for new SIM Professional Developers and provide guidance and advice to the PDRI. Every year, new SIM Professional Developers join the ranks, bringing the Strategic Instruction Model to more teachers and students internationally. For the international SIM Network, the PDRI offers support, resources, and continuing research via national, regional, and state conferences, just-in-time support, and continuous growth opportunities to develop expertise in the Center’s educational interventions.

For More Information

About the Strategic Instruction Model:

About the Director of the PDRI, Jocelyn Washburn:

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