The latest paper from the Research Partnership for Professional Learning, written by 10 professional learning organizations, identifies opportunities for innovation in measurement
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – October 11, 2023 – The Research Partnership for Professional Learning (RPPL) released a new publication that underscores why effective measurement of teacher professional learning efforts is critical to improving student outcomes and how we can improve measurement tools. "Measuring Teacher Professional Learning: Why It's Hard and What We Can Do About It” explores how the education field can practically and equitably measure teacher professional learning, identify areas for continuous improvement, and demonstrate the impact of professional learning on teachers and students.
Despite the importance of measuring teacher professional learning, practitioners agree the field lacks the tools needed to effectively evaluate the implementation and outcomes of professional learning programs. “Measuring Teacher Professional Learning” is based on the insights of 10 professional learning organizations across the country, and represents an innovative effort to center the voices and practices of organizations working alongside districts, schools, and teachers, who are closest to the needs of teachers and students. It includes deep-dive case studies from leading practitioners like Leading Educators, Teaching Lab, and New Teacher Center that offer real examples of how they are applying professional learning measurement strategies.
“The ability to measure the impact of teacher professional learning on student outcomes in a practical and reliable way is crucial to fostering more equitable and inclusive classrooms,” RPPL Executive Director Dr. Stacey Alicea said. “Researchers, professional learning practitioners, funders, school leaders, and policymakers all have a role to play in improving how we measure teacher professional learning so that it meets the needs of all teachers and students.”
Key points indicate the importance of measuring the success of teacher professional learning:
- Measurement methods developed by researchers are not always aligned with the needs of educators. To ensure they are practical and equitable, they must be formed in collaboration with teachers, researchers, professional learning organizations, and school and district leaders.
- Measurement tools should consider factors beyond test scores to promote equity in teacher and student experiences, such as access to resources, culturally responsive teaching, and feedback directly from students on how they experience the classroom.
- Measures that provide practical, in-the-moment feedback allow teachers to understand and refine their practice in real time and to be more responsive to the needs of their students.
- Time and resources are among the greatest barriers to measuring the impact of professional learning. Measurement tools need to be short and concise so that they’re easy to implement, and make data collection and analysis feasible.
This publication is part of RPPL’s broader effort to bring professional learning stakeholders together to advance educational equity for our nation’s students by strengthening and building relevant evidence on teacher professional learning. Previous publications include “Building Better PL: How to Strengthen Teacher Learning,” “Dispelling the Myths: What the Research Says About Teacher Professional Learning,” and more. You can visit www.rpplpartnership.org to learn more.
About the Research Partnership for Professional Learning
The Research Partnership for Professional Learning (RPPL) is a collaborative of professional learning organizations, researchers, advocacy and policy organizations, and foundations committed to advancing the collective understanding of how to support teacher professional learning that leads to equitable student outcomes for historically marginalized students. RPPL seeks to identify the features of professional learning that dramatically accelerate improvements in students' classroom experiences, well-being, and academic growth; and to generate and share insights that can guide the professional learning field, including professional learning organizations, districts, and schools, to strengthen their program design, results, and efficiency.