Wonder #6: How Do We Know that We are Making a Difference?

Building a mathematics community is a long-term investment, with different outcomes expected at different stages of implementation. A three year period or longer is required to work and assess progress. Just as quality instruction and assessment occur simultaneously in classrooms, assessment of professional development is a combination of embedded, formative processes along with summative processes to determine the efficacy of the experience for teachers and their students. Program evaluation as formative assessment of professional development is key to moving learning forward in a purposeful way (Johanson, 2012).

Levels of Evidence for Professional Development

The collection and analysis of five critical levels of information (Guskey, 2000) is one way to know the impact of professional learning and understand changes needed.  These five levels are:

         Level 1: Participant Reactions
         Level 2: Participants’ Learning
         Level 3: Organization Support and Change
         Level 4: Participants’ Use of New Knowledge and Skills
         Level 5: Student Learning Outcomes

Program Evaluation evolves over time, with its focus changing over different years of implementation.

Agenda Assessment

One tool that has been developed specifically to provide ongoing assessment and feedback is an Agenda Assessment. An Agenda Assessment can be customized to gather information at each of Guskey’s five levels, and fit within the context of the learning occurring. An Agenda Assessment is handed out at the beginning of any professional development opportunity. Community members are given time throughout the day to complete their reflections. Its dual purpose is to provide an agenda for the day, as well as provide an opportunity for community members to reflect on their learning experience and make available assessment information for the facilitator. An example:

Agenda Assessment Annotated

Three Year Assessment Plan

In a three year assessment plan, evidence gathered is cumulative. In year 2, collection involves year 1 questions and sources as well as year 2 questions and sources. In year 3, collection involves all questions and sources to ensure that the needs and attention to learning of participants are not lost.

Three Year Assessment Plan




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