Does your district’s PL measure up?

See how your district's professional learning stacks up against the rest of the country

When it comes to measuring intensity, our data shows the average time enrolled in any particular PD activity is about 4.25 hours, far less than what research says is the minimum for developing competency. While this time commitment is not conclusive, it establishes a target range that can guide efforts in your district.

Defining collaborative PL
Among the six criteria, collaborative is the most well-known but widely overused and misunderstood. Collaborative PL is about people working together to achieve a shared understanding of a concept or to develop the same skillset. Districts can create more collaborative learning experiences by clarifying what collaboration means relative to learning priorities for the school, district, and individual educator.

They’ve done that at Harrison (NY) Central School District, where teachers worked together with school and district leaders to reimagine PL. Core to their program are study groups and educator-developed curriculum that is coherent within and across grade levels. This approach offers deep collaborative opportunities and exposes educators to peers with whom they otherwise may not work.

Defining job-embedded PL
Just because PL takes place during the school day or in the learning environment doesn’t make it job embedded. It is job embedded if it relates to a specific educator learning outcome, is purposeful, directly connects to the work the educators are doing, and can be practically implemented into instruction.

Defining data-driven PL
Data-driven PL is based upon and responsive to real-time information about the needs of the participating teachers and their students. Our research findings show only eight percent of PL meets the definition.

Are your PL opportunities aligned to educator evaluation data? Are you capturing the impact and effectiveness of various types of PL on both participants and students? Ground your use of the data in these questions.

Defining classroom-focused PL
Classroom-focused PL has been well-adopted in 85 percent of PL enrollments. Still, it’s useful to understand how so much professional learning has achieved a strong classroom focus and also unpack the ways data organization can help improve quality. The work of establishing specific teaching standards of practice has had a clear and decisive impact on the extent to which PL activities meet with the quality criterion. Because we know what the expectations are and can collectively agree upon them, we can easily understand whether PL activities align. Additionally, we know that the disciplined practice of articulating the purpose of a given learning activity helps assure that alignment.

For more information, download the Bridging the Gap report series and learn more about improving PL in your district.

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