Professional development should incorporate evaluation of multiple sources of information on (a) outcomes for students and (b) processes that are involved in implementing the lessons learned through professional development (Burch, 1996; Little, 1993; Guskey, 1995; Joyce & Showers, 1995; NCRTE, 1991; NISE, 1996; NSDC, 1995; Tillema & Imants, 1995; U.S. Department of Education, 1995). Teachers' knowledge and experience (Miller, 1992), as well as research studies and outside consultants (Barr, Anderson, & Slaybaugh, 1992), should be valued sources of information.
The evaluation can be done by school-based educators, outside evaluators, or (and probably best) a joint team. It must be non-threatening, be conducted throughout various stages of implementation, allow sufficient time for change to occur, assess change in teaching before assessing change in student learning, and help teachers think more carefully about their classroom practice (Hodges, 1996). Knowing the extent to which professional development has influenced student achievement contributes to the design of and incentives for further learning.
Barr, R., Anderson, C. S., & Slaybaugh, J.E. (1992). Deliberations about grouping in Crete-Monee. In W. T. Pink & A. A. Hyde (Eds.), Effective staff development for school change (pp. 65-93). Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Corp.
Burch, Barbara (1996, September). Master's degrees for teachers: A call for change. AACTE Briefs, 17 (11). Washington, DC: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.
Guskey, T. R. (1995). Professional development in education: In search of the optimal mix. In T. R. Guskey & M. Huberman (Eds.), Professional development in education: New paradigms & practices (pp. 114-132). NY: Teachers College, Columbia University.
Hodges, H.L.B., (1996). Using research to inform practice in urban school: 10 key strategies for success. Educational Policy, 10 (2), 223-252.
Little, J. W. (1993). Teachers professional development in a climate of educational reform. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 15 (2), 129-151.
Miller, L. (1992). Curriculum work as staff development. In W. T. Pink & A. A. Hyde (Eds.), Effective staff development for school change (pp.95-109). Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Corp.
National Center for Research on Teacher Education. (1991). Final report: National Center for Research on Teacher Education. Michigan State University: East Lansing: MI.
National Institute for Science Education. (1996, May). Principles of effective professional development for mathematics and science education: A synthesis of standards." NISE Brief, 1 (1). Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin.
National Staff Development Council. (1995). Standards for staff development. Oxford, OH: Author.
Tillema, H. H. & Imants, J. G. M. (1995). Training for the professional development of teachers. In T. R. Guskey & M. Huberman (Eds.), Professional development in education: New paradigms & practices (pp. 135-150). NY: Teachers College, Columbia University.
U.S. Department of Education (1995). Building bridges: The mission and principles of professional development. Washington, DC: Author.