Professional Learning - Data



The Standard

Professional learning that enhances both educator practice and outcomes for each and every student requires the use of both quantitative and qualitative student, educator and system data to plan, implement, monitor, and assess professional learning.

Data Defined

Data refers to the evidence gathered that can be used to plan, implement, monitor, assess, and refine professional learning practices that enhance both educator practice and the academic and non-academic growth of students.

Data and Professional Learning

Quantitative and qualitative data comes from multiple sources, including teachers, administrators, students, and families and community members. Data is also collected via multiple methods such as common formative and summative assessments, performance assessments, observations, work samples, portfolios, self-reports, and written records. When qualitative and quantitative data is used to plan, implement, monitor, and assess professional learning, educators and students engage with quality teaching and learning.

From Data to Continual Educator and Student Growth

The use of multiple sources and types of data offers a more balanced and comprehensive analysis of student, educator, and system performance than any single type or source of data can. However, data alone does little to inform decision-making regarding professional learning. Individuals or teams must understand what the data represents and how to use the data to plan, implement, monitor, and assess the professional learning process.

Student data
  • Data about students are useful in defining individual, team, school, and district goals for professional learning. Student data includes formal and informal assessments, achievement data (grades and other benchmarks), and daily classroom work. Other forms of data are useful in understanding student learning needs, such as:
    • Demographics
    • Engagement and attendance
    • Student perceptions
    • Student learning styles
    • Behavior and discipline
    • Participation in extracurricular programs
    • Post-graduation education
Educator, school, and system data
  • A comprehensive understanding of educator learning needs is essential to planning and implementing meaningful professional learning. Data to consider for identifying goals for educator learning include:
    • Student performance on various assessments
    • Educator evaluation data
    • Educator perceptions
    • Classroom or work performance
    • Student results
    • Student and parent feedback
    Educators engage in data collection and analysis to determine changes that are needed in areas such as policy, procedures, fiscal and human resources, time, and technology to support school and team-based learning. Points of analysis include three areas: inputs, outputs, and outcomes. These areas typically include:

    Inputs Outputs Outcomes
    • Fiscal and human resources, time allocation
    • Professional learning planning processes
    • Technical assistance provided through coaching
    • Educator perceptions
    • Frequency of participation
    • Level of engagement
    • Type of communication
    • Changes in educator practice
    • Student growth and development
Data to monitor, assess, and enhance educator and student growth
  • Ongoing data collection, analysis, and use, especially when done in teams, provides stakeholders with information that sustains momentum and continuous improvement. Monitoring both the learning and results that are seen allows for necessary changes to be made along the way. Well-designed evaluation of professional learning provides information needed to increase its quality and effectiveness on the individual, school, and district levels. Evaluation of professional learning also provides useful information for those who:
    • Advocate for professional learning;
    • Plan, facilitate, or support professional learning; and
    • Want to know about the impact of professional learning on student growth.
    Evaluation of professional learning includes examination of data related to inputs, outputs, and outcomes. It follows a rigorous process, aligned to professional learning standards to monitor, assess, and evaluate it. It provides the information necessary for those who advocate for high-quality professional learning and for those who are responsible for engaging in, planning, facilitating, or supporting professional learning to increase the quality and relevance of opportunities.


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 Data standard across the school and/or district professional learning system:

  • What quantitative and qualitative data is currently being used to assess the effectiveness of professional learning on the individual, team, school, and district levels?
  • What student and educator data is currently being used—or needs to be collected—and analyzed in order to identify the quality and effectiveness of professional learning?
  • What data gaps are currently preventing objective assessment of educator practice and student growth?
  • How is all appropriate data being collected and analyzed? Does it align to professional standards and relate to inputs, outputs, and outcomes?
  • What plans are in place to gather data for the purpose of assessing the impact of professional learning?

Used with permission of Learning Forward, All rights reserved.