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Professional Development Surveys

Professional Development Surveys


In this lesson, students will explore how to design a survey to assess professional development needs.

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Hello there, and welcome.

Collecting feedback is an important activity to undertake if you're looking to improve a product. In this lesson, we will explore how to design surveys in order to assess the professional development needs of teachers. Let's begin.

Have you ever seen something like this and just had to click it? If you are on any type of social media, you have undoubtedly seen clickbait surveys. Raise your hand if you've ever fallen for one of these. Clickbait is just that, a link that someone has posted to bait you into visiting their site. And surveys are a clever way to do that.

Here are some of the more outlandish ones I've seen. What movie rating would your life get? Which SpongeBob character are you, based on your Zodiac? Who is your celebrity crush? Where in Texas should you live? And, which Minion should be your BFF? If you're expecting to learn about these types of surveys here, you've got the wrong Sophia video.

Surveys are a great way to take the pulse of the staff, and collect information about what they deem important in terms of professional development needs. Getting a sense of what teachers want and using that information will make planning and implementing professional development far more effective. There are many benefits to using surveys to gather input about professional development.

They include being able to reaching and get feedback from a large group of people all at once. Survey questions can be standard in nature, thus ensuring that everyone is asked the same thing in the same way. The data that comes back from surveys can be used to draw conclusions about the group surveyed, as well as similar groups such as grade-level, building, or content. Surveys encourage members of any organization to get involved in the goals and issues at hand, and be a part of the solution.

Turnaround for data is quick especially, when administered digitally. People want their voices and opinions heard. Surveys provide the venue to do that. Oftentimes, a survey be the impetus for developing a potential solution or a new idea.

Surveys are developed based on the kind of information you are trying to collect, and whom it will be collected from. For instance, if you want to know about the pacing of a math program, you'd want to ask the math teachers questions about dates and time spent on certain lessons. However, if you wanted to find out the teaching methods that are being used in math, you might ask about manipulatives and activities that they're using.

In either case, you'd want to consider the following components when designing the survey. What's your topic? Who is the sample being surveyed? What will your delivery approach be? How will you develop your questions? And how will you analyze your data? We'll go through each of these with a little bit more detail.

Survey topics refer to the subject and focus of your survey, including all of the information that you are trying to gather. It may sound like stating the obvious, but when conducting a survey it is essential that you determine what you want and who your sample is. It can be helpful to create a statement that expresses exactly what you're trying to find out by conducting the survey. For instance, what area of growth is most important to teachers.

Next, you can drill a little deeper by defining what you need to know by creating a list. For example, technology, behavior management, reading instruction, science standards, and so on. As you develop your list, keep in mind the things that might be important to your school or district. You may want to actually refer to your district goals and our school improvement plan here. By doing this, we have included possible ideas for new professional development and giving participants the opportunity to share their feelings about existing or previous professional developments. And always remember while conducting a survey like this that your priorities should be the needs and wants, and the survey is the means to capture this information.

The next step in the process is to select your sample. As mentioned earlier, the sample refers to the people who will be taking the survey. Again, it might be stating the obvious, but the group who's taking the survey should be closely related to the group that will be impacted by the survey. You don't want to ask a bunch of high school teachers if they need professional development in the area of scoring second grade writing samples. So for this example, you would of course survey second grade teachers, because they would be the ones experiencing that professional development.

Anytime you collect data, the more you get the better it is. So in the case of the grade two writing task professional development, you would want the maximum number of second grade teachers to participate. Sending out the survey is one thing, but getting the information back is another. You might want to consider giving incentives for individuals to complete their surveys in a reasonable time.

It's even more true when it comes to percentage coming from the group directly impacted by the survey. In our example, if there are 12 second grade teachers, and only seven took the survey and indicate no support is needed, the five that did not respond might hold completely different opinions. So it would be very problematic for them to be excluded. On the other hand, if 11 out of the 12 teachers responded to the survey, it's more likely that the ideas and feelings of the group have truly captured. The goal, of course, should be 100% participation if possible.

After determining the sample, the next step is to decide how to deliver the survey. In other words, how to create and implement it. What you decide can potentially impact the types of questions you will ask, and the types of answers you'll go back, which is why you will want to consider a delivery approach before designing the questions. In situations like the one we've been describing, online surveys work best because it's easy to gather feedback, compile the information, and interpret the results.

The next step in the process is creating the actual survey questions and how to structure them. In our example, we could ask questions like, what areas of writing instruction would you like to improve? What type of writing PD would you like to see offered? When would you like to participate in the professional development? And how many sessions would you like to attend?

It's important to determine all of your questions beforehand, because you never want to change them once you've started. By changing the questions in any way, you sacrifice the validity, and it becomes very difficult to compile results in a meaningful way. There's a little bit of backward design planning mentality involved when creating a survey. Because you'll want to be thinking of how the data you collect will be analyzed. This may cause you to adjust some of the questions in order to make sure that you will receive information that you can analyze effectively.

Information gleaned from open-ended questions, for example, are much more difficult to compile. You may want to consider asking questions with a limited set of answers to allow for analysis and comparison, and then follow up with more open-ended questions to gain more details and ideas. For example, a follow-up to the question, do you additional PD in writing instruction, might be, select the genre of greatest need. I recommend using software or online survey tools because they've made the process of analyzing data easier than ever.

So it's time to go ahead and summarize this lesson. We learned the reason it makes sense to conduct surveys about professional development, and went on to describe the steps to do so. They included developing the survey, selecting the topics, the sample, the delivery and questions, and finally, analyzing the data.

Now for some food for thought. The next time you're given a survey to complete, take a look at it carefully by going through the points provided in this lesson.

Now it's your turn to apply what you've learned in this video. The additional resources section will be extremely helpful. This section is designed to help you discover useful ways to apply what you've learned here. Each link includes a brief description so you can easily target the resources that you want.

Thanks so much for watching. We'll see you next time.

Notes on "Professional Development Surveys"

(00:00-00:15) Intro

(00:16-00:58) Clickbait

(00:59-02:06) PD Surveys

(02:07-02:49) Developing a Survey

(02:50-03:54) Survey Topics

(03:55-05:16) Survey Sample

(05:17-06:25) Delivery and Questions

(06:26-07:13) Analyzing Data

(07:14-08:02) Food For Thought/Summary

Additional Resources

District-Wide Professional Development Survey

This district-wide survey from the Kent School District can serve as a model for educators who are in the process of surveying the effectiveness of their district professional development implementation.

Mansfield Public Schools: Professional Development & Teacher Engagement Survey

This is an example of one district's professional development survey that can be used to guide the creation of your own professional development survey.