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Background.  Although instructional development for teachers has become an important topic in higher education, little is known about its actual impact. In particular, evidence regarding the impact of teachers’ instructional development on students’ perceptions of the teaching–learning environment is scarce.

Aims.  The impact of an instructional development programme for beginning university teachers on students’ perceptions of the teaching and learning environment was investigated. We also explored whether this impact is dependent on class size and student level (first years vs. non-first years).

Sample.  Quantitative data were gathered from more than 1,000 students at pre- and post-tests, using a quasi-experimental design.

Method.  A multi-level analysis was conducted in which five models were estimated.

Results.  A basic model made clear that teachers did differ from each other with respect to the dependent variables concerned; however, differences in scale scores also resulted to a large extent from differences between students. A second model, in which the moderating impact by way of teacher characteristics, context, and student characteristics was not taken into account, reported no significant effect of training. A third model, examining the net impact of instructional development revealed some impact, which was, remarkably, negative. A first interaction model proved a differential impact of instructional development for teachers teaching first years and those teaching non-first years. A second one showed that the impact of training depended on the number of students one teaches.

Conclusions.  Instructional development for teachers in higher education does not easily result in effects on students’ perceptions of the teaching and learning environment. Perspectives for further research into instructional development are discussed.