According to P, Black and D, William, evaluation refers to a sequence of interrelated actions that have a definite purpose.1 Since education instructors are involved in several multifaceted issues, they should be assessed as professionals.
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The standards of evaluating them should be developed by all the stakeholders of the school institution and their evaluation should be based on the extent to which they resolve professional issues proficiently. Since teachers are the main subjects of training, professional development has a direct impact on them.
H, McMillan argues that, the main objective of professional development for teachers and other school staff involves its crucial task in the improvement of the learning process 2. For this reason, the school administrators ought to put great emphasis on the results of professional growth on profession performance, organizational efficiency and the achievement of learners.
All the professional development endeavors should always be subjected to an appropriately designed evaluation plan in analyzing their efficiency. The intricacy of changes in education necessitates that the plan is based on the use of ethnographic research.
This should be done over a long period of time so as to evaluate and assess the connection between individual changes and the systematic transformation in education. Effective professional development enables the acquisition of new knowledge and expertise.
P, Black and D, William asserts that, in one way or another, there’s a support structure that follows teachers and other staff within the school institution school in their place of work which provides continued training or some kind of system enabling teachers/staff to continue solving problems in their working environment. 3
As a matter of fact, ineffective evaluation systems within the school institution are exceedingly hectic, of little significance, and an obstacle to the staff drive. According to P, Black and D, William, such unproductive assessment systems are more expensive as compared to efficient ones.4
This is because; they do not improve the performance of teachers as well as other school staff and thus rob off the learners’ achievements. For this reason, evaluation for professional development should be done in the most effective manner, failure to which it can become meaningless or intensify apprehension between teachers or school staff with their administrators and increase negative competition amongst them.
In other words, ineffective evaluation methods can lead to communication breakdown within the stakeholders of a school institution as it may lead to unnecessary barriers, and destroy an otherwise excellent working rapport amongst the school professionals.
Consequently, the need for efficient evaluation policies within a school should not be underestimated. It is the responsibility of all stakeholders in the education process to be accountable. Thus Professional development programs should be evaluated in order to determine their value in schools, to the instructors as well as the learners.
For the efficiency of all professional development attempts, evaluation should be an ongoing process that is introduced in the early stages of program planning and should persist even after the completion of every development program.
The stakeholders in the education sector are involved in selecting the evaluators who are given the task of evaluating all the programs. The purpose of evaluation enables the evaluators to come up with the research questions used during the evaluation process. The research questions should be formulated with the help of several stakeholders in the development program.
After determining the purpose of the evaluation, the evaluators should then plan the evaluation procedure with regards to the intended results of the school upgrading efforts. The reason for an evaluation and the usage of the evaluation outcomes are dictated by what is being evaluated.
H, McMillan asserts that, in order to ensure an effective professional development program, the evaluators should ask those questions that are directed on bringing out the significance of the program in attaining development. 5 The evaluation of a professional development program has got two main objectives.
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The first one is to enhance the program’s quality or transform a professional development program which is known as formative evaluation, and the second one involves coming up with the program’s general efficiency also known as summative evaluation. In a professional development program, formative evaluation is usually done in intervals.
Here, the stakeholders are asked to give their remarks, which permit the evaluators to effectively amend the program’s quality. This form of evaluation ascertains that all the professional development programs meet the expectations and requirements of all the stakeholders. This involves a meaningful endeavor which may entail some classroom activities.
On the other hand, summative evaluation is employed at the end of the whole program. Bruner, S affirms that, more often than not, the research is done at three main points; educator practices, organizational transformations and learners results 6.
At the initial level of summative evaluation, the educators’ changes that result from participating in the professional development program are assessed. Here, the members are asked to point out the necessary changes according to what they think, what they believe, and their school/classroom activities.
They are supposed to describe their individual professional development and assess if the program meets their individual as well as professional objectives. S, Bruner suggests that this can be done through the use of observations, interviews, questionnaires and other self-evaluation instruments.7
The second stage of summative evaluation is where the school organization changes are assessed. According to research, organizational environment directly impacts on both initial and continued use of improvement strategies. In other words, professional development actions will influence student results in case the organizational environment presents continued support for the efforts.
Positive organizational adjustments lead to successful professional development. Constructive transformation within a school institution can be achieved through the use of observations, interviews, analysis of documents as well as questionnaires. To determine this form of change, evaluators should look for improved teamwork and an enhanced relationship between administrators and the instructors and the overall changes within the school environment.
The third phase of summative evaluation involves establishing the influence of the professional development practices on learning. This is mostly because the majority of school-upgrading attempts are projected to influence the learners’ success.
Thus, evaluation is obliged to determine the efficiency of professional development with regards to students’ achievement. C, Calfee and V, Masuda affirm that, by getting comments on the instruction outcomes, teachers as well as other staff within the school institution are able to have sufficient proof on the validity of their actions on learning. 8
Teachers should employ the new practices in case they notice some positive outcomes in the learners. This notwithstanding, measurement of the effectiveness of a program should not be limited to the learners points in standardized tests.
The evaluators should also consider how much the students are responsible for their individual learning and if they employ thorough research in their studies. Professional development assessment should also include nonacademic goals such as curbing student brutality.
According to H, McMillan in this case, the pointer of efficiency should embrace valid forms of evaluation procedures such as determining the rate of dropping out of school and changes in the degree of damage to the school. 9
In general, evaluation of a professional development program is usually restricted to the stakeholders’ initial response to the content and significance as well as the efficiency of the facilitator. The most important factor of an evaluation process is the long-term influence brought by the professional development program.
A follow-up evaluation should also be carried out after the instructors have implemented the necessary changes. This facilitates to assess changes within the instructional practice, in the professional environment and students’ success. C, Calfee and V, Masuda argues that, in order to reinforce the adjustments made by the stakeholders of the evaluation process, follow-up sessions and support actions should be programmed as part of the assessment course.10
In conclusion, even though professional development programs are meant to influence the students’ achievement, they characteristically have an impact on all the other participants who include; administrators, school heads counselors, as well as other staff.
For it to be thorough, an evaluation program should draw its findings from all the above sources as well as from the evaluators. A comprehensive approach, which uses diverse information from multiple sources, should be embraced.
Both quantitative and qualitative facts should be included in this course to provide suitable information. Precisely, this information should comprise facts based on the results from participants, organization, and learners.
Moreover, the assessment outcomes should be presented in a way that is easily understood by all the participants involved in the professional development course. Comprehensible communication of the program’s outcomes should ensure that the findings are used to direct school improvement efforts and consequent professional development actions which include teacher training.
- P, Black, & D, Wiliam, Raising standards through classroom assessment, Phi Delta Kappan, 1998.
- H, McMillan, Essential assessment concepts for teachers and administrators, Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Publishing Company, 2001.
- P, Black, & D, William, pp140.
- P, Black, & D, William, pp 146.
- H, McMillan, pp 26.
- S, Bruner, The process of education, NY: Vintage Books, 1960.
- S, Bruner, pp 77.
- C, Calfee, & V, Masuda, Classroom assessment as inquiry, In G. D. Phye (Ed.) Handbook of classroom assessment, NY: Academic Press 1997.
- H, McMillan pp 46.
- C, Calfee, & V, Masuda pp 36.
Black, P, & William, D, Raising standards through classroom assessment, Phi Delta Kappan, 1998, 139-148.
Bruner, S, The process of education, NY: Vintage Books, 1960.
Calfee, C, & Masuda, V, Classroom assessment as inquiry, In G. D. Phye (Ed.) Handbook of classroom assessment, NY: Academic Press 1997.
McMillan, H, Essential assessment concepts for teachers and administrators, Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Publishing Company, 2001.