Evaluating long-term complex professional development: Using a variation of the cohort control design

Laura B.Sample McMeeking, R. Brian Cobb, Carole Basile

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This paper introduces a variation on the post-test only cohort control design and addresses questions concerning both the methodological credibility and the practical utility of employing this design variation in evaluations of large-scale complex professional development programmes in mathematics education. The original design and design variation, which adds a pre-test measure and gain scores for both pre-treatment and post-treatment conditions, are compared theoretically for their respective controls on threats to internal validity, and practically for their comparative ease of implementation in field settings. We conclude that the design variation adds important controls to selection bias that the original design cannot. From a utility perspective, however, there are tradeoffs, because this design variation requires more data collection observations, more complex data management and certain psychometric characteristics for the outcome measure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-285
Number of pages13
JournalEvaluation and Research in Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Achievement
  • Evaluation
  • In-service education
  • Methodology
  • Quantitative
  • Students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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