Evaluating Professional Development Methods and Mediums

If remote teaching has taught us anything, it is that some meetings definitely could have been emails, and some trainings work better digitally. Distance learning has demonstrated that the traditional method of gathering educators in a large room with gallons of coffee, uncomfortable ice-breakers, and a Power Point is not necessarily the best way to […]

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Continuous Evaluation of Professional Learning

Well, winter quarter is wrapping up and all quarter I have been learning more and more about ISTE Coaching Standard 5: Professional Learning Facilitator. I have spent my last few blog posts sharing about professional learning in general and how … Continue reading

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Time to Get Serious: Evaluating the Impact of Professional Learning

Okay teacher friends, we’ve all been there. You just completed some form of professional development and you’re itching to get out the door. Someone walks by and hands you that green evaluation form right at the end. You know, the one you have to complete in order to get clock hours? In my experience, there are usually some additional questions about how the training went so that the facilitator can glean feedback on how they did. I remember jotting down some notes as fast as I could (while still being legible) so that I could jet out the door.  I’ve participated in a spectrum of professional learning sessions. From big international technology conferences to small local ESD workshops and in-house training on a specific topic. I feel like I’ve “been around the block” and done everything from PLCs and book studies to school tours and big conferences.  Needless to say, I feel tremendously blessed to have been given these opportunities to explore, learn, and grow in my own skills as an educator. But how do we know if these professional learning opportunities actually made an impact? How do we measure teacher growth, the impact on student learning, or overall school-wide improvement?  ISTE Coaching Standard 5 states that coaches “Evaluate the impact of professional learning and continually make improvements in order to meet the school-wide vision for using technology for high-impact teaching and learning.”  So my big question: “How do we evaluate the impact of professional learning?” As I highlighted in a previous blog, Righting the Ship, one of our biggest problems with professional development (PD) is that we cram too many different topics into our annual schedule and then can only follow up on one or two of them. If that! This would be like teaching a math lesson to our students and moving on before we checked for understanding. Did our students acquire the knowledge and skills they need to be successful? We need to ask the same thing of our teachers. After completing PD, there should be more than just a half sheet evaluation on how the session went. So this week I chose to dive in deep on best practices in evaluating professional learning. There are several well-known theories on how to evaluate the effectiveness of training. Perhaps the most famous in the education realm is Guskey’s Five Levels of Professional Development Evaluation. Guskey proposed that there were 5 domains that needed to be evaluated when weighing the success of a particular training. Below is a summary of each domain and suggested tools for collecting data.  Guskey also had a Theory of Teacher Change. He believed that teachers needed to first see the power of the new teaching method to really believe it was effective and continue to apply it (Hanover Research, 2015). Therefore, teachers must be given the time to reflect and evaluate student learning outcomes. Then they can see the impact of their training and continue to make changes where needed to improve student learning. PD is a complex beast. It can take many forms, whether attending workshops, participating in study groups, curriculum development, peer coaching, and so on. “But regardless of its form, professional development should be a purposeful endeavor. Through evaluation, you can determine whether these activities are achieving their purposes” (Guskey, 2002). As coaches, we cannot stop after the training, say a little prayer, and hope that we hit our mark. We owe it to ourselves and our students to follow through with Guskey’s five steps to determine if the training worked. Even if we are working alongside teachers who have individual goals and are doing more of a personalized PD structure, we can train and empower them to collect and analyze student data to take charge of their own continuous improvement cycle. Professional Learning should be an iterative cycle, where we take time to evaluate the impact on teachers, school-wide improvement, and most importantly student learning. Works Cited Guskey, Thomas. (2002, March). Does It Make a Difference? Evaluating Professional Development. ASCD, 59(6), 45-51. http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/mar02/vol59/num06/Does-It-Make-a-Difference%C2%A2-Evaluating-Professional-Development.aspx  Guskey, Thomas. (2016, February). Gauge Impact With 5 Levels of Data. Learning Forward, 37(1). https://tguskey.com/wp-content/uploads/Professional-Learning-1-Gauge-Impact-with-Five-Levels-of-Data.pdf  Hanover Research. (2015, November). Best Practices In Evaluating Teacher Professional Development. Hanover Research. https://www.rsdmo.org/community/committees/professionaldevelopment/Lists/Meetings/Attachments/61/Best%20Practices%20in%20Evaluating%20Teacher%20Professional%20Development%20(1).pdf  ISTE Standards for Coaches (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://www.iste.org/standards/for-coaches Background photo created by denamorado – www.freepik.com

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Evaluating the Impact of Professional Development

Well it is winter quarter in my master’s program at Seattle Pacific University and we are focusing on ISTE Coaching Standard 5: Professional learning Facilitator Coaches plan, provide and evaluate the impact of professional learning for educators and leaders to … Continue reading

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Ideas for Evaluating Digital Technology Resources and Sharing What You Learn With Others

For the second module in my course this quarter at school we are focusing on the ISTE Educator Standards 1 and 2. These standards focus on how teachers and educators can take the plethora of digital technology tools and resources … Continue reading

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ISTE FOR COACHES 3-Digital Age Learning Evironments

Technology coaches create and support effective digital age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students. 3a. Model effective classroom management and collaborative learning strategies to maximize teacher and student use of digital tools and resources and access to technology-rich learning environments. 3c. Coach teachers in and model use of online and blended learning, …

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Classroom Technology Usage Pilot

In my continued exploration of professional development and evaluation, I partnered with the Educational Technology and Media department from my university to conduct a pilot survey on what types, and how faculty use current classroom technologies. The results of this pilot will inform necessary modifications to the data collection tool prior to faculty-wide administration at … Continue reading Classroom Technology Usage Pilot

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Developing Evaluation Criteria for EdTech Tools

Digital tools in the classroom is an asset to learning. According to the U.S. Department of Education, technology in the classroom ushers in a new wave of teaching and learning that can enhance productivity, accelerate learning, increase student engagement and motivation, as well as, build 21st century skills, (U.S. Department of Education, n.d.).  The offerings … Continue reading Developing Evaluation Criteria for EdTech Tools

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“How’m I Doing?”: How to Tell if Peer Coaching is Working and if You’re Doing it Right

A Seemingly Simple Question I’m the kind of person who likes feedback. I like to know if I’m headed in the right direction and if I’m doing the right things to get there. The late Ed Koch, former Mayor of New York, used to ask people,…

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A More Effective Online Peer Coach

As part of my studies with the Digital Education Leadership program at SPU, I recently engaged in and completed an exercise in peer coaching with a teacher.  I took into consideration that I now work at a startup, and the professional learning I would be working with her on would be all online and for a particular product. I … Continue reading A More Effective Online Peer Coach

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