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Getting Serious About Evaluations

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Getting Serious About Evaluation

According to Killion (2008), evaluation--not just data—is increasingly important for reforming schools. Evaluation provides a way for school and district leaders to answer questions about the impact of their work. Evaluations should be use to assess the effectiveness of the Professional Development program.

At my school, I have experienced all levels of professional development evaluations. Level 1, Participants’ Reactions, is the most commonly used method to evaluate professional development. We are involved in weekly ongoing PD activities that are meant to build upon each other. These sessions are full of resources and information. The presenters are usually organized and prepared. We are always given a survey at the end of the session that focuses on the presenter’s preparation and subject knowledge.  Student work data is usually presented, staff members are encouraged to provide reflection about the sessions, the minutes from previous sessions are usually presented and demonstrations are sometimes included. These levels do build upon each other. The outcome is identified at the beginning and a plan is put in place to achieve student success.

The administrators at my school are trying to create a culture of accountability. This year my school merged with another school.  We have several new teachers. Many of them are first year teachers. The administration provides the time, resources and support for ongoing professional development opportunities. Teachers are given the opportunity to collaborate with master teachers and strengthen their professional knowledge.   One Barrier that may prevent people from feeling comfortable with accountability and evaluation is the unfamiliarity with each other and the professional development process. People are not comfortable enough to honesty evaluate the programs.

The shifts in perspective that might be necessary to bring about professional development evaluation that supports educator learning and student achievement at my school are moving from externally driven and designed to internally driven and designed; shifting from summative evaluations only versus planning, formative, and summative evaluations; and from process-focused versus results-focused (Killion, 2008, p.133).  I think the shift to these types of evaluations would help us produce different results and increase student achievement.



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