[Assessment 1542] Re: Getting staff to use data-now staff development

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Bakin, Barry barry.bakin at lausd.net
Wed Dec 17 11:38:47 EST 2008

Professional development sessions in our division (adult education) arise out of needs assessments filled out by teachers and administrators and are delivered by current and former in-classroom teachers in a mostly "voluntary participation" system; teachers choose to attend for the most part, so our professional development operates under a more "business-like" model of needing to provide services that people want. Some teachers do have an added incentive/requirement of needing a certain number of hours of staff development to advance up the salary scale but that is not the case with all teachers who attend. All staff development ends with an evaluation by participants. The evaluations are taken seriously and used to the improve sessions.

On the other hand, I personally have attended staff development opportunities that were mandated by the larger k-12 system in which we operate over the past 20 years that were absolutely horrendous and of which I'm sure, any positive outcome that could be found in teachers' classrooms occurred in spite of the training instead of because of it. Excellent teachers will find the five minutes of useful information in a two-hour training and turn it into excellent lessons and get great outcomes. Horrendous trainers can take 5 minutes of useful information and turn it into a two-hour opportunity for teachers to read newspapers, instant message, check email and doze.

One trend in staff development that we're trying to encourage is what is called "site-based professional development." In this model, staff development choices arise out of collective decision-making and needs assessment at the local site level. Trainings can be given by the teachers themselves to each other, by off-site "experts," through peer-coaching or any combination of a variety of activities. The key point is that the form and content of the training is determined through a joint effort of the site's teachers and administrators.


-----Original Message-----
From: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov on behalf of Roger Berg
Sent: Tue 12/16/2008 9:08 AM
To: The Assessment Discussion List
Cc: Roger Berg
Subject: [Assessment 1535] Re: Getting staff to use data

There appears to be the assumption that participating in professional
development improves instruction. I would not be surprised to find an
small positive effect but could it be that the 'better" instructors
attend PD while the others.....

Roger Berg
Strategic/Community Planner
Literacy Program of Greater Plymouth at the Plymouth Public Library
11 Hall Street
Plymouth, MA 02360
508 746 6345
roger_berg at mac.com

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