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Designing Professional Development for Teachers of Science and Mathematics

Designing Professional Development for Teachers of Science and Mathematics

Third Edition

Foreword by Dennis Sparks

January 2010 | 424 pages | Corwin
Drawing on research, literature, and the work of experienced professional developers, this third edition of the bestseller presents an updated, redefined professional development (PD) planning framework for designing relevant learning experiences for science and maths teachers. Engaging staff developers in a dynamic decision-making process, the authors demonstrate how to expand teachers' expertise in ways that produce significantly improved student outcomes and explain the influence of:

- Knowledge, beliefs, and research on the PD design process

- Context factors specific to your environment

- Programme evaluation and the cycle of reflection and revision

Foreword by Dennis Sparks
About the Authors
What Has Happened Since the First and Second Editions

The Enduring Challenges of Professional Development

Carrying on Susan Loucks-Horsley’s Work

Purpose of the Book

Changes in the Third Edition

The Audience for This Book

Organization of the Book

How to Use This Book

Values Shared by the Authors

1. A Framework for Designing Professional Development
Inputs Into the Design Process

The Design and Implementation Process

2. Knowledge and Beliefs Supporting Effective Professional Development
Learners and Learning

Teachers and Teaching

The Nature of Science and Mathematics

Adult Learning and Professional Development

The Change Process

3. Context Factors Influencing Professional Development
Students and Their Learning Needs

Teachers and Their Learning Needs

Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment Practices, and the Learning Environment

Organizational Culture and Professional Learning Communities


National, State, and Local Policies

Available Resources

Families and Communities

Resources for Investigating Context

4. Critical Issues to Consider in Designing Professional Development
Building Capacity for Sustainability

Making Time for Professional Development

Developing Leadership

Ensuring Equity

Building a Professional Learning Culture

Garnering Public Support

Scaling Up

5. Strategies for Professional Learning
Selecting Strategies for a Professional Development Structures

A Repertoire of Stratgies for Professional Learning

6. The Design Framework in Action
Tapping the Knowledge Bases, Framing Beliefs: "We Stood on the Shoulders of Giants"

Knowledge and Beliefs About the Nature of Learning and Teaching Mathematics and Science

Equity Matters: "All Humans Are Educable"

Knowledge and Beliefs About Teachers

Knowledge of Effective Professional Development

Knowledge of the Change Process

Reflect and Revise: Experience as a Source of Knowledge

Making Compromises


The Professional Development Design Process

Design Framework in Action: Cases


"The third edition of Designing Professional Development for Teachers of Science and Mathematics, like the two previous ones, represents the gold standard for resources available to those working in the field of professional development. My staff and I highly recommend this book become a primary resource for designing and continuously improving professional development programs for teachers of science and mathematics. Unlike other resources, this unique and important book provides current research, an updated strategic planning framework, and access to a portfolio of best practices for informing your work.”

Sally Goetz Shuler, Executive Director
National Science Resources Center

“I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is serious about developing and providing relevant and transformative professional development to teachers and school leaders.”

Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, April 2011

"In the 21st century when STEM education has become vital for our students and our nation and the importance of quality professional development has increased at least tenfold, this seminal work should be required reading for every education leader. It is both practical and scholarly in guiding a school toward a culture of continuous learning and improvement."

Harold Pratt, President, Science Curriculum Inc.
Former President, National Science Teachers Association

"Drawing upon both research and the wisdom of practice, this book makes accessible our current understanding of best practices in professional development design. The book notes the importance of professional development modeling the kinds of instruction teachers are expected to use, so it was gratifying to see the extent to which the third edition itself 'walks the talk' by making the authors' beliefs explicit and transparent."

Iris R. Weiss, President
Horizon Research, Inc.

"Great guidance from some of the best thinkers in the field, with lots of easy-to-grasp examples you can wrap your mind around. This is the ‘go-to’ book for anyone supporting math and science teachers in the improvement of their practice toward better learning for all students."

Cathy Seeley, Past President, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
Author of Faster Isn’t Smarter: Messages About Math, Teaching, and Learning in the 21st Century

"Once again, this edition will help shape and guide professional development across this nation. The updated research and resources help those of us in the field design for better teacher learning with greater results on student achievement."

Kathy DiRanna, K-12 Alliance Statewide Director

Sample Materials & Chapters



Chapter 1

Susan Loucks-Horsley

Susan Loucks-Horsley was the lead author of the first edition of Designing Professional Development for Teachers of Science and Mathematics and directed the professional development research for the National Institute for Science Education on which the book is based. At the time of her passing in 2000, Susan was the associate executive director of Biological Sciences and Curriculum Study (BSCS) and senior research associate for science and mathematics at WestEd. She had previously served as director of pro­fessional development and outreach at the National Research Council’s Center for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education, where... More About Author

Katherine E. Stiles

Katherine E. Stiles is a Senior Program Associate in the STEM Program at WestEd. Katherine is Co-Director of WestEd’s National Academy for Science and Mathematics Education Leadership, providing professional development and support for education leaders nationwide. The foci of the Leadership Academy–effective leadership, educational change, professional development and communities of learners, facilitation, and using data and evidence to achieve results–are reflected in the book, (2013). She designs and leads science and mathematics education program evaluation projects at the school, district, state, and national level, focusing on... More About Author

Susan E. Mundry

Susan Mundry is currently deputy director of Learning Innovations at WestEd and the associate director of WestEd’s Mathematics, Science, and Technology Program. She directs several national or regional projects focused on improving educational practice and oversees the research and evaluation projects of Learning Innovations. She is codirector of a research study examining the distribution of highly qualified teachers in New York and Maine for the Northeast & Islands Regional Education Laboratory and is the project codirector for the evaluation of the Intel Mathematics Initiative, a professional development program for elementary and... More About Author

Nancy B. Love

RBT’s Director of Program Development, Nancy is a leading expert in school data use and professional development. She has worked with schools across the country to develop Data Coaches and high-performing Data Teams and to put research about effective professional development into practice. As former Director of the National Science Foundation-funded Using Data Project, Nancy led the design and implementation of a comprehensive professional development program to improve teaching and learning through collaborative uses of school data. Participating schools significantly increased student achievement, teacher collaboration, and uses of data... More About Author

Peter W. Hewson

Peter W. Hewson is Professor of Science Education at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is also the director of a project to develop collabo­rative research in science and mathematics education between South Africa and the United States. He has been a principal investigator on several other federally funded multiyear projects in science education. As Codirector of the Professional Development Project of the National Institute for Science Education, he coauthored the first edition of Designing Professional Develop­ment for Teachers of Science and Mathematics (1998). He teaches in the under­graduate teacher education and... More About Author

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