Training Teachers on the Job
What works and how to measure it
A significant body of research demonstrates that teachers and the quality of their teaching are crucial components of student learning. Many teachers in resource-poor environments have limited knowledge, skills, or motivation. Some impact evaluations have shown promising results from interventions to improve the quality of teaching. This paper reviews the existing body of evidence on what kinds of in-service teacher training interventions are most effective, and highlights the knowledge gaps.The paper reveals the dearth of detail on the nature of teacher training interventions and proposes a standard set of indicators—the In-Service Teacher Training Survey Instrument—for reporting on such programs as a prerequisite for understanding which interventions lead to improved student learning. Across a set of 26 programs with impact evaluations and student learning results, programs that provide complementary materials, focus on a specific subject, and include follow-up visits tend to show higher gains. Programs that use non-education professionals as trainers tend to have worse outcomes. Statistical power to identify these effects is limited, and use of these standard indicators in future impact evaluations will facilitate more precise inference.