Study Examines Link Between Professional Development And Student Achievement

October 18, 2004

Syracuse, N.Y., October 18, 2004– Hezel Associates today announced that its researchers are undertaking an experimental study in elementary schools across the nation to determine the relationship between online teacher professional development and student achievement. Fueled by No Child Left Behind requirements, the study will involve more than 100 teachers and 2,500 students from schools in Miami-Dade County, Fla., Richland, S.C., and Buffalo, N.Y.

Hezel Associates is conducting the research on behalf of PBS TeacherLine, a government-funded program that offers standards-based online courses to teachers nationwide. A promising 2003 pilot study involving TeacherLine’s algebra and geometry courses prompted the U.S. Department of Education to ask Hezel Associates to expand its work.

“To receive some of the $1 billion in available federal funding, education initiatives today must provide scientifically-based evidence of their impact,” said Paula Szulc Dominguez, Ed.D., director of research and evaluation at Hezel Associates. “Evidence resulting from quantitative, experimental research is considered to be the most definitive proof of success.”

The U.S. Department of Education prefers that research on student learning take place in the classroom, not in laboratory settings. In fact, a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article indicated that education research is moving closer to medical-style randomized studies and away from advocacy and anecdotal methods.

“We hope the findings will help PBS improve its product while meeting the Department of Education’s needs for experimental research,” said Dominguez. “With more school districts focused on student achievement, technology, and teacher quality, education decision-makers nationwide stand to benefit from our findings.”

ABOUT PBS TeacherLine
Funded through the U.S. Department of Education’s Ready to Teach program, PBS TeacherLine offers standards-based online courses in reading, mathematics, science, instructional strategies, instructional technology and curriculum mapping. TeacherLine courses are facilitated modules and self-paced learning opportunities that teachers can access anytime, anywhere. The online courses include a one-day face-to-face meeting with facilitators and classmates, followed by six weeks of online discussions and assignments, and a final face-to-face meeting to share projects.

Headquartered in Syracuse, N.Y., Hezel Associates provides research, evaluation and strategic services to national and international clients in education, technology, publishing and business. The firm has earned a distinguished national reputation as a leading expert in distance education research and consulting. Clients such as the U.S. Department of Education, Arizona Board of Regents, Habitat for Humanity International, the Public Broadcasting Service, Regis University and the United Way have relied on Hezel Associates’ recommendations to make strategic decisions, and create and implement policies. The company was founded in 1987 by Dr. Richard T. Hezel, a leading research-oriented consultant in the field of education technology. For further information about Hezel Associates, visit