Teacher Training Programs - What Works?

Published: April 2017


There are winners and losers in teacher training programs: What explains it? In this Policy Research Working Paper, SIEF supported researchers Anna Popova, David Evans and Violeta Arancibia tried to dig into these programs. After all, ten teacher training programs usually means ten different models – one program trains off-and-on throughout the year, another trains for two weeks during the holidays; one trains teachers in subject knowledge and another in pedagogy. Do some of these characteristics predict which programs work well? The researchers decided to search for impact evaluations of teacher training programs with student learning outcomes, categorize the programs by their essential characteristics, and see which (if any) of those characteristics were associated with learning gains. (excerpted and adapted from the blog by David Evans and Anna Popova)

Results presented at a Brazilian government conference on reforming teacher training (2016)

Results presented at the Rise conference (2016)

Paper cited by Nadel & Pritchett 2016 and by Cilliers et al 2016.


Researchers are currently working on two follow-up papers:

  • What Is the Landscape of In-Service Teacher Training? Measuring Actual Teacher Training 20 Countries
  • Watching the Trainers: An Observational Instrument to Characterize In-Service Teacher Training