The effectiveness and costs of three approaches to elementary teacher education in Sri Lanka - preservice, conventional inservice, and distance inservice - are examined. The effectiveness of these approaches was measured by teachers' theoretical and applied knowledge, classroom performance, and pupil achievement. Costs borne by the sponsoring institution and the teachers were evaluated. Although distance education was the most cost-effective of the approaches, graduates of colleges of education were significantly effective in producing high achievement in their pupils in mathematics and language. This finding is particularly important given the more difficult teaching situations in which they taught.
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