Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Hamil, Burnette

Committee Member

Hare, Dwight

Committee Member

Price, James

Committee Member

Brocato, Kay

Committee Member

Bryan, Laura

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Secondary Education

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction


Effective professional development offers opportunities for teachers to reflect on their practices, modify and implement changes in the classroom, and eventually impact students? learning. However, professional development must be evaluated to determine whether the desired results are actually occurring in the classroom. The Program for Research and Evaluation for Public Schools, Inc. (PREPS) created a Biology I Workshop series to assist school districts in Mississippi in aligning curriculum, instruction, and assessment that will ultimately improve student achievement in the classroom and performance on the current high-stakes test. This study evaluated the PREPS Biology I Subject Area workshops by using Thomas Guskey?s evaluation model as a guide for the process. This study used a mixed-method design and collected data from three primary sources: the PREPS Final Evaluation Form completed at the conclusion of workshops, a questionnaire created by the researcher, and interviews with six-case study teacher participants selected from the results of the questionnaire. According to the ratings and comments written on the two instruments and supporting evidence from the case-study teachers, the participants of the Biology I workshop found the workshops to be effective for all five levels of Guskey?s evaluation model. The content was rated effective because the workshop materials were aligned to the curriculum frameworks and were focused on using student learning to improve student achievement. Working through the activities rather than simply being told about them and having a successful classroom biology teacher as a presenter were the factors that contributed to the increase in the participants? knowledge and skills. Organizational results indicate that the workshop was effective in that the goals of the workshop series aligned with the schools? mission and goals for student learning. Several issues, such as financial support, time for collaboration with peers, and reward opportunity for successful teachers, were rated low in school organizational structures. The results also indicate that the PREPS Biology I workshops had a positive impact on student achievement both in the classroom and on the Mississippi Biology I Subject Area Test for the schools that implemented the teaching units and strategies.