Professional learning that enhances both educator practice and outcomes for each and every student is aligned with district/school goals, relevant Connecticut standards, and other agreed-upon standards for educator practice and student growth.
Outcomes are the expected results of professional learning. They describe the essential learning that occurred and, within time and opportunity, the change that can take place once implemented into practice. Outcomes can be identified and defined for both educator practice and student growth.
Outcomes and Professional Learning
Outcomes provide a framework for the development, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of any and all professional learning opportunities. When aligned with educator, school, and district goals, as well as with relevant Connecticut and other agreed-upon standards, outcomes help ensure a comprehensive professional learning system that enhances both educator and student growth. All district, school, and educator goals and standards should work together ultimately to enhance educator practice, and in turn, improve student outcomes.
Keys to Attaining Successful Outcomes
Realizing successful professional learning outcomes is the result of analysis, goal-setting, and evaluation. Essential steps in this process include:
Identification and assessment of existing goals and standards
- To ensure future professional learning outcomes, the first step is to identify the relevant content and performance standards used in the school and district for educators and students. This helps maintain focus on enhancing the knowledge, skills, and understanding of each educator so that all students advance towards positive academic and non-academic outcomes. Key considerations to include when assessing current school and district goals and standards include:
- Essential knowledge, skills, and pedagogy educators need to deliver an effective, equitable education for each and every student
- Formal and informal student assessments aligned to standards
- How students learn, as well as how their social, emotional, and physical development influence their learning in school/district
- Involvement of family and community to support student growth
- Characteristics of highly-effective learning environments
- Professional growth, development, and collaboration opportunities available to educators
Establish the desired outcomes
- A thorough analysis of existing standards helps professional learning leaders drive the focus and sustainability of continuous learning to enhance educator practice. To do this, educators:
- Collaborate with others at all levels—grade-level teams, content area teams across schools and districts—to establish a vision and strategic plan to enhance teaching and learning;
- Align expectations with local and national standards and requirements; and
- Consider the diverse needs of educators, students, schools, districts, parents, and communities.
- Any single professional learning opportunity is more likely to enhance educator practice and student growth if it builds on the successes and “lessons learned” of earlier efforts. Coherence is strengthened when professional learning opportunities:
- Are incorporated into an ongoing professional learning system;
- Focus on learning outcomes and pedagogy aligned with local or national curriculum and assessments for educator and student growth; and
- Provide educators ongoing opportunities to apply and practice what was learned into their daily context. Professional learning is a part of a seamless process that continues throughout an educator’s career.
Use these guiding questions to engage members of the school and/or district community to identify strengths, areas for growth, and next steps to align the Outcomes standard across the school and/or district professional learning system:
- What local or national standards, both for educators and students, are currently in place—and how are outcomes assessed as to whether those standards were met?
- What teaching and learning practices need to be in place in order to help both educators and students reach those standards?
- Who should be involved in aligning professional learning outcomes to local and/or national standards, school and district goals, and educator expectations?
- How will progress toward professional learning outcomes be monitored?
- What metrics will be used to evaluate the success of professional learning?
- How will educators apply, practice, and embed new learning into their daily practice?
Used with permission of Learning Forward, www.learningforward.org. All rights reserved.