Document Type

Research Report

Publication Date



The purpose of this report is to present the findings from the first year of the Massachusetts Professional Development System Study (MA PDS). This study examined the implementation of Massachusetts' new statewide model for professional development of the early education and care and out of school time workforce. The study was funded by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC).

This study examined the process of implementation of the new professional development system between August 2010 and June 2011. Implementation research is important because it provides insights into whether a new system is operating as intended and identifies areas that need improvement. This study focused on the development of the statewide and regional infrastructure, and in particular on governance and communication systems and processes. This report charts the process, growth, and challenges of building the system and its infrastructure during this timeframe. It is important to note that this study is not a comparison of the new system with the previous system.

Evaluation of the professional development system is a critical component of the state's efforts to improve child care quality and make informed policy decisions. Access to an effective high quality integrated early education and care system is critical to closing the school readiness gap for low income and disadvantaged children. Policy makers, educators, and advocates are increasingly aware that too many children enter kindergarten already behind their peers academically and developmentally. Highly effective teachers are essential for positive child outcomes. Many have noted critical gaps in the research on the EEC workforce and professional development (Zaslow & Martinez-Beck, 2006). The MA Professional Development System study is designed to answer questions of policy importance to Massachusetts (as well as other states) that are working to develop more integrated professional development systems that are responsive to the needs of the diverse EEC workforce and translate into higher quality classroom and family child care environments for young children.


Submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care.



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