GSE Professor Receives Grant to Assess Professional Development Schools

Posted: May 23, 2001 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Muneeza Alam

Sharon Castle, assistant professor in the Graduate School of Education (GSE), has received a $40,000 grant from the National Education Association (NEA) Professional Development School (PDS) Research Project to study the effects of PDSs on student achievement, teacher quality, and teacher retention. George Mason is the only university in the state conducting the two-year study sponsored by NEA.

PDSs are partnerships between teacher education programs and public schools. The goals of PDSs are joint professional preparation of students and faculty, inquiry directed at the improvement of practice, and enhanced student learning. “For one full academic year, education student interns immerse themselves in their schools just as medical interns immerse themselves in their work during their residencies,” says Castle.

National research indicates that students participating in PDSs in the past have demonstrated using a wider variety of teaching strategies than those who do not participate in them, and Castle believes that once these students become teachers and apply their familiarity with research-based methods to teaching, their students learn more.

Eleven universities across the country are conducting similar studies to assess PDSs. The studies will be compared on a national level once completed.

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