Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational & Clinical Studies

First Committee Member

Kyle Higgins

Second Committee Member

Monica Brown

Third Committee Member

Joseph Morgan

Fourth Committee Member

Richard Tandy

Number of Pages



The identification and implementation of evidence-based practices by special education and general education teachers continues to be an issue in the field of education (Cook & Cook, 2011; Cook, Tankersley, Cook, & Landrum, 2008). Since the mandates of providing students with disabilities access to the general education curricula (IDEA, 2004) with services based on empirical research (NCLB, 2001) are required, teachers are implored to improve their teaching skills (Cook et al., 2008). Recently, the field of education has made efforts to support teachers in the identification and use of evidence-based practices by establishing a system and process for identifying evidence-based practices (Cook, Tankersley, & Landrum, 2009). A key element of this process requires a systematic approach to evaluate research that supports evidence-based practices in pre-service teacher education and in school-based professional development (Cook, et al., 2008; Hornby, Gable, & Evans, 2013; Odom, 2009; Whitehurst, 2002).

Currently, little research exists focusing on: (a) the translation of educational research into daily practice in schools and classroom settings, (b) the incorporation of evidence-based practices in teacher training or in school-based professional development, and (c) the effectiveness of specific strategies on improved student outcomes (Avalos, 2011; Hornby, et al., 2013). The research-to-practice gap continues to be an issue in schools because professional development initiatives do not include data collection on the implementation of evidence-based practices in school-based settings (Hornby, et al., 2013). At this point, there is no national data available to determine what school district professional development providers consider important when planning professional development for educators.

The purpose of this study was to examine and compare which quality indicators and classifications of evidence-based practices were considered important by school district professional development personnel based on specific characteristics (e.g., education level, years of experience, where curricular decisions are made) when they plan and create school-based professional development for general and special educators. This study was conducted using a national sample of 736 school districts in small, medium, and large school districts. A questionnaire containing 28 items broken into two categories: (a) quality indicators, and (b) classifications was used to collect responses from professional development coordinators across the United States.

The results of this study indicated that school district professional development providers may not consider the evidence-based practice standards prescribed by the Council for Exceptional Children (2014) when planning school-based professional development for general and special educators. The results of this study also provided the foundation needed for future research to support the identification and use of evidence-based practices as a component in teacher education and professional development in the field of education.


district; evidence-based; practices; standards; teacher; training


Education | Educational Leadership | Teacher Education and Professional Development

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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