The Literacy Professional Development Project
The Literacy Professional Development Project (LPDP) provides schools with an in-depth professional development programme. The focus of the project is to lift the performance of students who are under-achieving in reading comprehension and writing. The project was in part a response to research that showed it is teachers who make the most significant difference to students’ learning.
To produce an evidence-based professional learning programme to improve teacher content knowledge in literacy, pedagogy, and practice, and build effective professional learning communities.
Between 2004 and 2009, Learning Media worked in partnership with the University of Auckland and the Ministry of Education to provide an on-site literacy professional development programme for 4542 teachers of new entrants to year 8. Thirty percent of the 386 schools were decile 1–3 and the focus was on those students whose progress showed were underachieving in reading and writing. All the schools work within the project for two years.
The project offered:
- a strong knowledge and research base for professional development that met individual school needs and built effective learning communities
- research and monitoring of students’ improvement in reading and writing
- assessment of teacher literacy knowledge and practice and the ways that school leaders support teachers
- learning for all those involved in the work (researchers, project leaders, facilitators, school leaders, teachers, and students).
LPDP also conducted an ongoing inquiry into the project’s effectiveness, using data collected and discussed within the LPDP team and closer research with a smaller set of schools. As a result, changes were made to improve the quality and focus of the programme.
Project research shows that in the 2008–09 cohort of 105 schools, all children in the lowest 20 percent progressed at three times the expected rate in reading and at six times the expected rate in writing.
In 2007, The New Zealand Council for Educational Research and the University of Canterbury evaluated the project. They found that the gains in reading and writing achievement by students from schools in LPDP were greater than those that could be expected without the intervention. It also noted positive shifts in teacher understanding and practices.
Together with Learning Media project leaders, University of Auckland researchers continue to measure the impact of the programme.
I was a good classroom teacher before the project, but now I’m consciously working towards being a more effective teacher. It’s worth it to see the huge improvements my students have made, both in their literacy progress and their ownership of their learning.
Teacher participating in the LPDP project
- Focus area
- Literacy, Research
- Professional Development
Ministry of Education