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REL Pacific

High-Quality Professional Learning Designs in Pohnpei

Summary

The Pohnpei Partnership for the Improvement of Teaching uses research results, data, and best practices to guide policy and practice to improve pre-service and in-service professional learning opportunities for teachers. The Partnership's goal is to develop a clearer model of effective instruction, improve professional learning opportunities for in-service teachers, and develop pre-service teacher preparation that includes the content knowledge, attitude, and skills required for effective teaching in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).

High-Leverage Need

Implementation of high-quality professional learning experiences can increase teachers' knowledge, support their ability to improve their practice, help them to better engage diverse learners, and ultimately, influence student achievement and student outcomes (Kennedy, 2016). Therefore, the design of high-quality professional learning experiences to increase teacher capacity is paramount.

Partnership members have expressed concerns that, of the students at the one Pohnpei high school, just 48 percent met or exceeded the benchmarks in the grade 10 English language standards and 26 percent met or exceeded benchmarks in the grade 10 math standards on the National Minimum Competency Test (NMCT) in school year 2015/16, with similar results at other Pohnpei high schools (Fredreick, 2016). Partnership members expect that a focus on high-quality professional learning opportunities for teachers can increase the quality of instruction students receive and lead to improved outcomes.

REL Pacific Project Support

To support the Partnership's goals, REL Pacific is providing training and coaching sessions to:

  • Introduce instructional coaching and Learning Forward's Standards of Professional Learning.
  • Examine the alignment of preservice learning and training at the College of Micronesia–FSM (COM–FSM) to ongoing professional development efforts at the state level.
  • Identify effective strategies on how to give high-quality feedback to teachers at all levels.
  • Identify curriculum that has the potential to improve student outcomes in the classroom (Gersten et al., 2010).
  • Identify local needs that professional learning in Pohnpei is intended to support.

In addition, REL Pacific is working closely with the Partnership to address how professional learning efforts in Pohnpei align with the National Department of Education (NDOE) Accreditation Standards and examine the efficacy of existing professional learning opportunities for in-service teachers.

The Partnership is approaching the project through a systemic perspective by looking at both local and state levels of professional learning implementation. Partnership work focuses on improving the ways in which principals and education leaders can improve their leadership capacity within Pohnpei schools to provide effective professional learning opportunities for teachers.

Contact

Meagan Taylor

Meagan Taylor, managing consultant, supports educator effectiveness and early learning for the REL Pacific contract. Meagan holds dual bachelor's degrees in Elementary and Early Childhood Education, and a master's degree in Education from National University. Meagan received her administrative license from Brigham Young University and achieved National Board Certification in Elementary Reading and Language Arts. Contact Meagan at mtaylor@mcrel.org.

Additional Resources

Slide Deck Presentation Helping Teachers Learn to Improve

References

Fredrick, M. (2016). FSM National Minimum Competency Standard-Based Test (NMCT) 2016: Reading and mathematics test. Department of Education, Division of Basic Education.

Gersten, R., Dimino, J., Jayanthi, M., Kim, J. S., Santoro, L. E. (2010). Teacher study group: Impact of the professional development model on reading instruction and student outcomes in first grade classrooms. American Educational Research Journal, 47, 694–739. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ910527

Kennedy, M. (2016). How does professional development improve teaching? Review of Educational Research, 86(4),945–980. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1121554.