Finding a link between professional development and improvements in student achievement has alluded global researchers for decades. That is why we were so excited to share the findings of our latest randomised controlled trial which investigated the impact of Quality Teaching Rounds on student outcomes.

In this long-read we published with ACER’s Teacher magazine we unpack what this study found, including that the students whose teachers participated in QTR achieved 25 per cent additional growth in mathematics during the eight-month intervention period.

The largest randomised controlled trial in Australian education research history

Our 2019 cluster randomised controlled trial involved 165 Stage 2 teachers and more than 5,000 students from 125 New South Wales government schools.

In Term 1 we collected the initial data which included whole lesson observations and coding using the Quality Teaching Model, as well as student and teacher surveys and interviews with teachers and school leaders. Students undertook ACER Progressive Achievement Tests (PATs) in mathematics, reading and science to measure their learning growth between the beginning and end of the year.

Schools participating in the study were randomly allocated into QTR, peer observation or control groups. Peer observation was used as a comparative, collaborative intervention and given the same amount of funding and dedicated PD time as the QTR group.

In Term 4, eight months after the initial data collection, we repeated the process. In total, our researchers conducted 33,407 PATs and 791 whole lesson observations, as well as conducting and analysing 11,924 surveys with students, and 803 surveys with teachers and school leaders.

Significant findings

Our study showed that the students of teachers who participated in QTR achieved an additional 25 per cent growth in mathematics achievement, when compared to the control group. Perhaps even more exciting is that students from disadvantaged schools made slightly greater academic gains than their peers in more advantaged schools.

A cost benefit analysis by Deloitte Access Economics found QTR to be a very low cost form of professional development, raising gross state product (GSP) by between $40 and $150 for every dollar spent on QTR. You can read the full report here.

Read the full student achievement findings
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