- A new report from the Frontline Research & Learning Institute, "Bridging the Gap," compared data from more than 200 school districts against the Every Student Succeeds Act's definition of professional learning, created with input from Learning Forward, and discovered that 80% or more doesn't meet the criteria for effective professional development, eSchool News reports.
- Under the new federal definition, professional learning must be “sustained, intensive, collaborative, job-embedded, data-driven, and classroom-focused.”
- However, the study concluded that only 13% of professional learning met the standard for sustained, only 9% met the definition of collaborative, 63% was job-embedded, only 8% was truly data-driven, 85% was classroom-focused, and the average length of time spent on “intensive” professional development was only 4.25 hours.
While most school administrators would agree that professional development for teachers is important, not all professional development efforts are the same. Good professional development is effective and better prepares teachers to serve students. Because of this, Learning Forward focused on helping to define professional learning and influenced the new ESSA criteria.
As school administrators work on the development of PD programs for their teachers in the coming year, it is important to keep these criteria in mind. Fortunately, there are resources that can help. The "Bridging the Gap" report has some insights to offer, and Learning Forward has created its own toolkit entitled “A New Vision for Professional Learning.” With a few tips in mind, school leaders can create professional development programs that help teachers become more effective and productive in the classroom.