Posted by: Bill Lord | September 28, 2009

Pondering the evaluation of CPD

And so I start my second blog and try to ensure that this blog lasts beyond the third post. It has been hard choosing what to start off with and which direction I will take in my ponderings and musings.

I hope that I will, over the next few posts, add some value to your thinking around the teaching of literacy, Primary education, the use of ICT and the impending changes to the Primary curriculum.

At the moment much of my work has involved considering the evaluation of impact of the work that I do including the work taking place in the authorities which I support. A colleague pointed me in the direction of  the research of Thomas Guskey to support my work . Dr Thomas Guskey is a professor at  the University of Kentucky where he teaches courses in research and evaluation design, qualitative analysis techniques and educational reform and change. I have only recently discovered Does It Make a Difference? Evaluating Professional Development for Educational Leadership which was originally published in 2002. It was written at a time when there were budgetary constraints on CPD in North American schools and as we enter the second year of the recession it seems appropriate to revisit his work. It is also worth noting that it was also at the time of the US policy of No Child Left Behind.

Guskey argues that there are five levels of information that you want to gather regarding professional development.

Level 1 – Participants’ reactions to the professional development program.

Level 2 – Participant learning. Have you evidence to show that as a result of that experience participants’ knowledge base changed/skills were developed.

Level 3 – Is the school set up to support them to do the things that teachers have been asked to put into practice?

Level 4 – Have practices changed? Has the new knowledge/skills been used? What criteria will you use to gauge this so that you can support whose practice hasn’t moved on.

Level 5 – What has been the impact on children’s learning? Have you evidence to show that as a result of this, learning has improved?

By planning ‘backwards’ you consider the student outcomes wanted before anything else working through the other levels to judging whether the delegates at CPD felt that the time was well spent (ie was the delivery good and the coffee nice?)

View article here

Guskey describes his approach  well in an interview with eTech Ohio

As someone who has a passion for ICT and Literacy this work has really struck a chord with me and forced me to consider the following questions

How often does the Senior management team in a school look at the intended impact on children’s learning and what evidence they will seek to measure it?

Do they clearly share this vision and reasoning with all staff?

I suspect that we are still in a climate where schools consider the resource – the ICT kit, the reading scheme, writing approach – without considering in detail what the intended impact will be and how they will measure it.

The key question is then, how do we support the Senior Managers in schools to tie the introduction of these resources to pedagogical approaches, pupil outcomes and the evaluation of the work done?


  1. […] of CPD in Primary schools and how it can often be blocked by lack of strategic planning – my blog post on Thomas Guskey’s work on the evaluation of CPD could be useful to aid school discussions. I am a great fan Guskey’s […]

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