Abdal-Haqq PDS Weighing the Evidence

Abdal-Haqq, I. (1998). Professional development schools: Weighing the evidence. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.


  • a"Reformers from both camps saw better schools and better teachers as crucial to America's social and economic well-being (p. 1)."
  • "Professional development schools (PDSs) emerged in the mid-1980s as a potentially significant vehicle for advancing both the revitalization of teacher education and the reform of P-12 schooling. They were advocated in several influential reform reports and studies of the era (Carnegie Forum, 1986; Goodlad, 1990; Holmes Group, 1986). Because PDSs would be designed and implemented by school-college partnerships, they were envisioned as institutional settings that would be both models of best P-12 practice and optimum sites for clinical preparation of novice teachers (p. 2)."
  • Rationale

    • "Effective teachers are seen as central to effective schools (p. 4)."
    • "In essence, today's schools cannot adequately prepare tomorrow's teachers (p. 4)." PDS is seen as the response to such critique.
    • "Schools designated as PDSs are generally engaged in restructuring. This process may involve changes in organizational and governance structures; redesign of teacher work; reallocation of resources; improvements in the processes of teaching and learning; and changes in the relationships between and among teachers, administrators, school districts, pupils, parents, and higher education institutions (Abdal-Haqq, 1991) (p. 4)."
    • "PDSs are places to determine what works so that findings can be disseminated to other schools (p. 4)." PDSs are analogous to teaching hospitals. They should be on the cutting edge of education. What does that mean for the "test districts?" And, if PDSs are so beneficial , what about the schools that don't have them? Are they right for everyone? Are those that don't have them disadvantaged?
    • "There is considerable evidence that teachers consider their practice teaching experiences to be the most useful element of their professional preparation (Goodlad, 1990; Levine, 1988) (p. 5)."
    • PDS was seen as the solution to improve teacher education, which in turn benefits students. The assumption is that PDS = better preparation = better teachers = better learning.
  • Definitions

    • Goals and principles of a PDS:

      • "Preparation of preservice teachers and other school-based educators
      • Professional development of practicing teachers and other school-based educators
      • Exemplary practice designed to maximize student achievement
      • Sustained, applied inquiry designed to improve student and educator development (p. 6)."
  • "Collaboration is a hallmark of professional development schools (p. 6)."
  • "PDSs are committed to the simultaneous renewal of both schools and teacher education (Goodlad, 1990) (p. 6)."
  • Dewey's lab schools preceded the PDS movement. 
  • Movement: lab schools ⇒ Portal schools ⇒ PDSs
  • PDS Literature

    • The literature on PDS is growing.
    • "Fugitive literature includes internal or limited-circulation documents, such as proposals or project reports to funding agencies, newsletters, or promotional material (p. 9)." It also includes papers that are presented at regional and state conferences.
  • Methodology


  • Goodlad, J. (1990). Teachers for our nation's schools. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Levine, M. (Ed.). (1988). Professional practice schools: Building a model. Vol. 1. Washington, DC: American Federation of Teachers.