Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Teaching and Learning (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Walter Secada

Second Committee Member

Okhee Lee

Third Committee Member

Batya Elbaum

Fourth Committee Member

Soyeon Ahn


The purpose of this meta-analysis was to better understand the relationship between the substantive-content focus of professional development for inservice teachers of mathematics and their students' achievement. That professional development for teachers enhances student achievement has been well established by recent studies; however, those meta-analyses have studied structural characteristics such as the duration and the format/delivery method of the professional development. It is important to understand how the focus of professional development relates to student achievement because different foci must still compete not only among themselves but also with other instructional-improvement strategies (such as high-stakes testing, accountability, and curriculum reform) for limited resources, such as time and money. Hence, having evidence that professional development works and, more importantly, a better understanding of what focus comprises more effective professional development is not just of theoretical importance, it is also a policy-relevant imperative. The study's results indicated that the focus of professional development is, in fact, a significant and educationally important predictor of variation in student-achievement effect sizes.


Professional Development; Elementary; Math Achievement