A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops. ~ Henry Adams
Professional development training for teachers is only worthwhile if it is effective. While it used to be expected that teachers would complete an employee training program on their own, today, school districts are building district-specific learning environments designed to help teachers grow and improve student outcomes.
The Alludo platform is designed to allow school districts of every size to identify and measure training effectiveness of their professional learning program, enabling them to make the best possible use of their resources, and – most importantly – get to the best possible student outcomes. Here are eight training metrics of K-12 professional development to track in your district.
Table of Contents
- How Do You Know If Your K-12 Professional Development Training is Successful?
- Why is the Evaluation of Training Effectiveness Necessary?
- 8 Measures of K-12 Professional Development Effectiveness
- Alludo’s Take
How Do You Know If Your K-12 Professional Development Training is Successful?
You may feel that your professional development training for teachers is effective, but how do you know if it’s successful? Here are four key elements that indicate that you’ve created a professional learning environment that is doing what it’s meant to do.
Element #1: Teacher Engagement
One of the most important indicators that your teacher professional development system is effective is teacher engagement. Engagement is more than participation. It’s a mark of enthusiasm.
The Alludo platform encourages teachers to be engaged with professional learning by providing learner-centered professional development that gives teachers a choice and a voice in what they study. Teachers are more likely to engage when they know they can choose subjects that are of interest to them and relevant to their students.
Element #2: Teacher Compliance
Teacher compliance with professional development requirements can be tricky because those requirements may feel burdensome at times. Teachers are busy and put in long hours outside of the classroom. Adding to their obligations can – if not done properly – make them feel overwhelmed.
When a high percentage of teachers and administrators are complying with requirements, it’s a good sign that you have created a meaningful learning program for them.
Element #3: Achievement of District Goals
School district goals are often directly related to teacher professional development. For example, many districts set goals to increase students’ average scores on standardized tests or to minimize teacher turnover.
When your professional learning platform and district goals are aligned, you know that you have an effective professional development system that is working both for learners and the district.
Element #4: Impact on Student Learning & Outcomes
Nothing matters more to teachers than their students. They want to engage their students, build connections, and help students to fall in love with learning. An effective professional learning program helps teachers do all of these things.
Research shows that teachers who participate in a well-designed and relevant professional development program bring new techniques and enthusiasm back to the classroom with them. Their students tend to be more active in class and do better on standardized tests than students whose teachers aren’t receiving relevant and effective professional development.
Why is the Evaluation of Training Effectiveness Necessary?
Many school districts don’t do much in the way of measuring training effectiveness beyond ensuring that teachers are meeting state and district requirements. The issue with tracking only participation is that it doesn’t allow any room for improvement or growth. Tracking the performance metrics of professional development can give districts a better idea of what works, and what doesn’t. Measuring training effectiveness allows you to do these things:
- Ensure teachers are meeting PD requirements on the district and state levels. While compliance isn’t the only thing to measure, it is essential if you want your district to excel. Requirements vary from state to state, but failure to comply may cause a teacher to lose their certification.
- Allocate budgets and calculate ROI. Whether your budget for teacher training is small or large, you want to be sure that you are getting a good return on your investment. Tracking the effectiveness of your PD system will allow you to reallocate funds as necessary and tweak your program until it delivers the results you want.
- Ensure teacher effectiveness is being positively impacted. Teachers need a full array of tools and techniques to be effective in the classroom. Every student is unique and no one strategy will work with everyone. A 2021 study in the Journal of Economic Education talked about the importance of giving teachers as much instruction as possible to allow them to reach students with a variety of teaching methods.
- Ensure required learning is relevant to teachers’ time in the classroom. Professional development is only effective if it allows teachers to acquire skills and strategies that are relevant to their jobs. To measure relevance, you will need to request input from teachers when developing professional learning curricula and feedback after teachers have completed the training.
- Identify areas for improvement. However good your professional development system is, it can always be improved. Measuring the effectiveness of professional learning can help you to identify areas where the training is insufficient or irrelevant and update it to get the results you want.
- Ensure the best possible student outcomes. Effective professional learning for teachers leads to better outcomes for students. By employing a rigorous system of measurement with a focus on effectiveness, the students in your school district will have success with higher test scores, better grades, and higher graduation and college acceptance rates.
Evaluating training effectiveness through key performance indicators in your professional learning system will ensure that your money – and teachers’ time – is well spent.
8 Measures of K-12 Professional Development Effectiveness
Every district must determine which measures of K-12 professional development effectiveness to track, but here are eight that we feel are essential to training evaluation.
Measure #1: Teacher Participation
Teacher participation is essential if any system of professional development is to be successful. Not only do teachers need to meet state and district requirements, they must also be willing to learn new teaching methods and strategies to connect with their students. Online learning makes it simple to check in on teacher participation.
Measure #2: Teacher Engagement
Participation is one thing and engagement is another. When teachers are engaged, they participate in professional development with enthusiasm. Things like flexible learning and gamification encourage teachers to participate regularly and make professional learning an ongoing habit. Alludo makes it easy for school districts to track teacher engagement.
Measure #3: Teacher Use of Learned Material in the Classroom
Are your teachers using what they learn in professional development in the classroom? Tracking use of learned material can help you determine whether the material being provided is effective. Unlike some of the metrics that can be automated, you can best measure whether teachers are using what they learn through a combination of self-reporting and classroom observation.
Measure #4: Levels of Learning Completed
Tracking the levels of learning that faculty and staff complete is another way to measure both participation and engagement. For example, Alludo partnered with the Val Verde Unified School District to boost teacher engagement. Their teachers have completed more than 42,200 activities over more than 760 levels – a clear indication that their system is effective.
Measure #5: Student Progress in Specific Subjects
One of the best ways to be sure that your professional learning platform is effective is to track student progress in specific areas such as math or science. The Journal of Teacher Education published a math-related study in 2017 that found that students whose teachers completed a math-focused professional development course saw greater improvement over the course of a school year than students whose teachers did not complete the course.
Measure #6: Student Test Scores
Student scores on standardized tests are one of the most common metrics used to track the success of teachers, schools, and districts. For that reason, we believe it is essential to monitor student test scores over time to see if teacher professional development is translating to improved test scores.
Measure #7: Student Engagement
Student engagement in the classroom leads directly to better performance. Students who are active and interested in what they learn are more likely to complete assignments on time, study for tests, and most importantly, retain what they learn. Measuring student engagement is something that teachers can self-report and can be monitored via classroom observation.
Measure #8: Overall Student Outcomes
Overall student outcomes may be measured by monitoring test scores, engagement, GPAs, dropout rates, and college acceptance rates. Since these numbers are typically the ones that teachers care most about, monitoring student outcomes is a good way to get teachers invested in your system of professional development.
At Alludo, we are big believers in creating effective learning environments for faculty and staff. Part of that is making it simple for district and school leaders to track teacher participation and performance. Here’s how we do it:
- We use a learner-centered approach to drive teacher excitement and engagement. That means giving teachers a choice in what they study and when they study it.
- We provide every school district with easy-to-track metrics, including many of the metrics we have mentioned here. We can also work with you to add metrics that you want.
- We make it simple to identify and measure progress on an ongoing basis, both with the built-in metrics we mentioned plus a system of gamification that encourages teachers to track their own progress.
We love helping school districts create distinctive and effective online professional learning programs that teachers love.
It’s Time to Measure the Effectiveness of Your District’s Professional Development
Measuring the effectiveness of your PD program is essential if you want to meet your district goals, provide an exceptional learning experience, and improve student outcomes. The eight measures we’ve included here are the most crucial to track.
Are you looking for a way to improve your district’s employee retention, provide effective training, and track the results that doesn't require an expensive learning management system? Alludo is here to help! Click here to schedule a personalized, interactive session that covers the latest strategies to measure district-wide PD effectiveness.
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