Professional Development

Teachers Favor Data-Diven PD But Want More Buy In

Much has been reported on the value of providing teachers with high-quality professional learning opportunities, with school across more than 35 states having adopted or adapted the Standards for Professional Learning. However, less has been heard from teachers about whether they actually enjoy those experiences discussed in the framework.

To help jump start that discussion on teacher PD, the NEA (National Education Association) and professional learning companies Corwin and Learning Forward conducted a survey of more than 6,300 teachers nationwide.

The findings, available in “The State of Teacher Professional Learning” report, show several promising strides toward meeting the standards outlined in the framework:

  1. Teachers say school and district leaders in their systems are committed to professional learning.
  2. They report that student outcome data drives the planning of professional learning.
  3. Teachers agree that practicing and applying new skills in the classroom are valued at their schools.

While these are steps in the right direction, according to the report, the survey found that there is still work to be done.

For example, teachers feel supported by school and district leaders, but they don’t necessarily feel involved in the decision-making process about their own professional learning. A little over half of respondents said they have “some say” in teacher PD decisions, while nearly 20 percent said they have “no input at all,” according to the report. Three out of four respondents identified principals and district leaders as the primary decisionmakers regarding teacher PD, while just 4 percent of respondents named teachers as the primary decision-makers.

Furthermore, many reported that achievement data alone is used to plan PD, rather than using a variety of data to assess the effectiveness of professional learning.

Finally, teachers relayed that they still don’t receive adequate time for job-embedded professional learning. Only 25 percent of respondents said that the majority of their professional learning takes place during school hours. Otherwise, the majority rarely have a chance to get or give actionable feedback in an actual classroom setting, since most of teacher PD takes place on in-service days of the year.

To learn more, view the full report.

About the Author

Sri Ravipati is Web producer for THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at [email protected].