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Professional Development and Student Achievement

Professional Development and Student Achievement


In this lesson, students reflect on how the professional development design will improve self-efficacy, build capacity, and lead to increased student achievement. 

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Source: Globe, Clker, http://bit.ly/1CVSonk; Stick Figure, Clker, http://bit.ly/1JoIB83; Blue Man, Pixabay, http://bit.ly/1WiTfGJ; Burger, Pixabay, http://bit.ly/1L5KZne; News-O-Matic, http://bit.ly/1ktY4Ii

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Hello there and welcome. I've said it before and I will say it again. We do what we do so that we can improve student achievement. This lesson takes that notion, ties it to how professional development design will help to do that, as well as build and improve self-efficacy and capacity among staff members. Let's get started.

When something isn't working, you fix it. However, sometimes in order to fix the problem, you need to improve your own practice first. Here's an example. I love to eat, but I'm not too much of a cook. I do, however, enjoy grilling in the summer. Nothing too fancy, just your basic burgers and dogs. However, lately my family and friends have not been too happy with the hamburgers, which were just basically frozen beef patties.

I decided to try to make my own out of ground beef, pork, and seasoning. The first few I made looked more like meatballs. But I eventually got the hang of it and the proportions got much better, therefore making a better burger. In an effort to give you a sense of context for what you are learning, I will share with you a scenario in which professional development has been aligned to a school initiative and specifically based upon student achievement data.

So here we go. The district vision is to empower every student to become a lifelong learner who is responsible, productive, and engaged within the global community. Student achievement data-- based on the results of the state standardized tests in reading, it was revealed that only 53% of students were deemed at or above proficiency in reading of nonfiction text.

The school initiative is that the school will subscribe to News-O-Matic or Newsela to increase students' exposure to nonfiction reading and writing. Teachers will use the articles and accompanying resources as prompts for student responses.

And here are some of the action steps. To subscribe to those programs, conduct a school-wide training on how to use those sites. And teams will establish benchmarks for nonfiction responses. And eventually, also have Lunch and Learns about reading nonfiction.

No initiative is ever really done in isolation. There is usually alignment throughout the plant. In this example, based on the scores, it was very clear that something needed to be done to increase the students' ability to read nonfiction text. Using high interest current event articles presented in a digital format at various reading levels is a great step towards getting that done. As teams develop benchmarks for student achievement, they will be able to analyze the data throughout the year.

This, of course, is related to the district vision. The plan will tap into the tenets of social learning theory, as teachers will be learning with an from each other as the initiative is implemented. Situated learning theory is also represented, because teachers will continue to learn more about the sites and applications while they're in the midst of using them.

The Lunch and Learn aspect of this plan screams network learning as connections are made and individual communication is regularly happening about the topic. This initiative will certainly fall under Domain 3 of the Danielson Model for instruction. And since much of this plan is predicated on technology, all of the ISTE Standards are also represented.

Now that the scenario has been established, we can use the Pappas Model of reflection to examine our plan. Although this model is most often applied when an individual is reflecting on their own practice, it can also be applied to professional development design as well. As the designer, I would want to reflect on delivery and implementation of the plan. And the Pappas Model will help us do this by using the levels based on Bloom's Taxonomy.

The first level, remembering. What happened in the PD design and how was it aligned to the initiative, to the standards, and to theory? In my example, you saw how it was aligned with social, networked, and situated learning theories, as well as the Danielson Model and the ISTE Standards.

Level two, understanding. What was important about it? Why were the design decisions made? This plan is centered around gathering and reading nonfiction in a 21st century manner. Current events are of high interest. And these sites level the text for the reader, thus making it widely accessible.

Level three, applying. Where could I use aspects of the design again? Would I make similar alterations in the future? Although the plan is targeted toward reading a specific genre, the Lunch and Learn aspect can certainly be applied to any other context or learning. Also, collaborative teams working on benchmarks could also happen more broadly.

Analyzing. Do I see any patterns in this design? Are there any areas of strengths or weaknesses I should address? For this example, I will assume that the infrastructure for the building will support the plan, and the teachers have a level of proficiency when it comes to technology. Having said that, perhaps more background knowledge of the sites and using them in reading instruction would be relevant.

Evaluating. How well did it work? Did the PD participants respond well to the changes? Since this is a hypothetical example that I've created, I will say, yes. The initiative was a huge success and reading scores went through the roof.

And the last level, creating. What should I do next? Do I need to make further changes or take actions? Since technology is involved, there is always a potential for bringing this to the next level. Another natural progression would be connecting this initiative to writing goals as well.

As we wrap up this course, here are a few other questions that you would want to consider when creating a professional development based on student achievement data. As an administrator or a designer of professional development, you will want to find out how the alignment to best practices, school initiatives, standards, and theories builds teacher self-efficacy and capacity. Also, as part of the self-reflective nature of the process, you will want to identify any changes in your own practice.

And finally, what changes did you notice in student achievement? And here's today's food for thought. Look at some data. It doesn't matter if it's class, grade, or school, as long as it's data. What area would you like to see improvement in? What professional development plan could you use to address it?

As you reflect on how this new information can be applied, you may want to explore the Additional Resources section that accompany this video presentation. This is where you'll find links to resources chosen to help you deepen your learning and explore ways to apply your newly acquired skill set. Thanks for watching. We'll see you next time.

Notes on "Professional Development and Student Achievement"

(00:00-00:20) Intro

(00:21-00:59) A Better Burger

(01:00-02:11) Context

(02:12-03:25) Connections

(03:26-05:42) Reflection

(05:43-06:54) Summary/Food For Thought

Additional Resources

A Taxonomy of Reflection: Critical Thinking For Students, Teachers, and Principals (Part 1)

This blog post explains how to use the Pappas taxonomy for teacher reflection.

Effects of Teacher Professional Development Gains in Student Achievement: How Meta Analysis Provides Evidence Useful to Education Leaders

This meta-analysis illustrates the effect of professional development on student learning.