Cathy Gassenheimer spent a week listening and learning at the annual Learning Forward conference in Nashville earlier this month. Here is the second in her two reports on a day-long presentation by University of Kentucky professor Thomas Guskey, a leading expert on evaluation of teacher professional learning experiences.
The longer I interacted with Dr. Tom Guskey, the more I began to understand that, like most things, evaluating professional learning isn’t simple.
But when we think about the investment of school resources – including valuable teacher and leadership time – and the potential positive impact for students if we do professional learning "right", then there can be little doubt that evaluation is critical.
Before sharing the nuts and bolts of his findings about effective PD assessment, Guskey took the time to outline 10 factors that ensure professional learning is effective:
Begin with the end in mind:
What is it you want participants to learn and be able to do as a result of the professional learning? Guskey added an important vignette when recapping backward planning.
He suggested a strategy for use by principals and instructional coaches when a teacher requests a specific professional learning to ensure that it is effective. First, ask “How does this activity relate to the school mission?” Next, ask “What are the intended student learning outcomes?” Finally, ask “What evidence best reflects those outcomes?”Read More