Evaluation of the Literacy Professional Development Project

Publication Details

The Literacy Professional Development Project (LPDP) began in March 2004. The LPDP has a focus on improving teacher content knowledge in literacy, pedagogy and practice, and building effective professional learning communities. The project provides schools with an evidence-based professional development programme which aims to improve student learning and achievement in literacy.

A total of 288 schools (3,288 teachers) have participated in the project to date. Schools work within the project for two years.

Learning Media Limited delivers this contract on behalf of the Ministry of Education.

An independent evaluation of LPDP was commissioned and undertaken by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER) in collaboration with the University of Canterbury. The final evaluation report was received by the ministry in August 2007. Overall, the evaluation finds that the gains in reading and writing achievement by students from schools in the LPDP were greater than those that could be expected without the intervention.

Please note Appendices A-J were not included with this report

Author(s): S. McDowall, M. Cameron, & R. Dingle (NZCER) with A. Gilmore, & L MacGibbon (University of Canterbury)

Date Published: December 2007

Executive Summary 

The professional learning communities include school staff, the external facilitators who coach school staff, and a national team of regional leaders, project directors, and project researchers.

Schools involved in the LPDP focus on either reading comprehension or writing. There are five project outcomes.

These are:

  • Evidence of improved student learning and achievement;
  • Evidence of improved teacher content knowledge;
  • Evidence of transfer of understanding of literacy pedagogy to practice;
  • Evidence of effectively led professional learning communities; and
  • Evidence of effective facilitator practice (added in 2006).

From 2004–2007, the LPDP has provided whole-staff, onsite literacy professional development running over two years, for almost 300 schools with students from New Entrants to Year 8. It also conducts its own 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, and has made changes to improve the quality and focus of its work as a result. These changes are based on the project’s theoretical frameworks, derived from research evidence, about what is needed in professional learning to change practice and understanding.

The LPDP has been delivered by Learning Media Limited (LML) on contract to the Ministry of Education (MOE). This report provides the results of an evaluation conducted by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER) and the University of Canterbury for the MOE.

The research questions for this evaluation were:

  • What evidence is there of improved student learning and achievement?
  • What evidence is there of practitioner learning?
  • What evidence is there of facilitator learning?
  • What evidence is there of effectively led professional learning communities?
  • How effective are the features and processes of the LPDP model for improving student achievement and practitioner learning?
  • How sustainable are the changes brought about during the LPDP? 


Related Education Counts Documents

Literacy Professional Development Project: Identifying Effective Teaching and Professional Development Practices for Enhanced Student Learning


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