SELF-ASSESSMENT PROCESSES OF PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPERS
Professional Learning is a mechanism designed to support K-12 educators in improving their professional lives, knowledge, and instructional practice. It is supported by school divisions because of a belief that it will help teachers keep abreast of current research and improve the overall quality of instruction over time. However, most professional learning occurs without formal evaluation to determine its results. The purpose of this study is to develop theory about the self-assessment processes of the people who lead professional learning. The main objective of the research was answer the question: How do professional developers describe and demonstrate the process of either self-assessment or internal evaluation? The sub-questions included the following: 1) How do professional developers decide which strategies to use to determine the impact of their professional learning? 2) What influences the perpetuation of evaluation (or lack thereof)? 3) How is the praxis of assessment or evaluation of professional learning influenced by a professional developer’s experience? The study employed a constructivist grounded theory approach. Data were collected via interviews, observations, and extant documents from participants with a variety of roles leading professional learning. The professional developers in the study engaged in a variety of self-assessment processes focused primarily on teachers’ reception of the professional learning and the effectiveness of the facilitation process employed during professional learning sessions. They also shared extensively about barriers to the implementation of the learning in the classroom and took specific actions designed to respond to information they found in self-assessment. The self-assessment processes were largely self-initiated based on personal questions (wondering). Wondering was followed by typically informal methods of finding out and attribution, then responded to through action or inaction, depending on the professional developers’ interpretations of the results. Implications for theory and practice include a need for greater data literacy and support for internal evaluation and self-assessment conducted by professional developers. Recommendations include the development of essential evidence-based theory about facilitation processes and directions for further research.
professional learning, professional development
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)