The 5 Drivers of Effective
Teacher Development

Five drivers are essential to effective teacher professional development—

  1. screening and filtering,
  2. coursework,
  3. practicum,
  4. quality assurance, and
  5. in-service training

—but the school and education system context are at least equally important for quality results.

More about the drivers of effective teacher development (Chapter 1)

The World Bank has increased its emphasis on teachers and their training in its operations and with initiatives such as the Human Capital Project and the Global Platform for Successful Teachers.

The term “professional development” in this evaluation includes all learning opportunities for teachers, from the initial stages of their career to their entry into the profession (known as preservice training) and throughout their employment as a teacher, known as in-service training.

Better-trained teachers perform better in the classroom, and better-performing teachers improve student learning. Therefore, strengthening the preparation (preservice) and training of teachers throughout their careers is key to addressing low student learning attainment in many low- and middle-income countries.

This evaluation has found:

  • World Bank engagement in training teachers before entry into the profession (preservice training) has been limited and has prioritized coursework, with less emphasis on other drivers of quality, such as screening, practicum, and quality assurance. The Bank has instead relied heavily on engagement with continued training during employment (in-service training) to address shortcomings in preservice training through support to programs for both underqualified and qualified teachers.
  • Most countries where the World Bank provides support require discipline-specific in-service training that is adapted to teachers’ needs and capacity, models adult learning style, and includes follow-up support. Some of these features are evident in the operations examined, though often not in combination.
  • Well-designed and well-implemented training programs alone cannot improve teachers’ pedagogical practices, particularly without strong instructional leadership. This area received support in just 40 percent of the operations, which is low considering the challenges country clients face. Education systems need to create an enabling environment to sustain teacher professional development within a broader career framework supported by instructional leaders and incentives.

More findings related to preservice training (Chapter 2)
More findings related to in-service training (Chapter 3)

This evaluation also identifies ways in which future operations could be designed, implemented, and scaled to improve effectiveness and help ensure results:

  • Scaling up of training programs needs to increase both the breadth of coverage and the depth and sustainability of the training for it to achieve long-term changes in teaching practices. World Bank–supported scaling efforts have achieved success largely by increasing the number of teachers trained. Some desirable conditions to ensure sustainability of the training programs—longer-term strategic focus with financing sufficient to support sustainability, ongoing communication with key stakeholders, and political support—are missing in some cases.
  • The World Bank could give more attention to evaluating the training programs it supports to improve program effectiveness, resource use, and learning, and to provide data to support the achievement of progress and outcomes. Limited monitoring and evaluation can also undermine sustainability. The data collected on scaling-up efforts typically served an accountability function rather than a feedback process to refine efforts and show the value of in-service training to build sustained system change and stakeholder support.

More conclusions and lessons (Chapter 4).

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