Transforming Professional Development into Student Results

Transforming Professional Development into Student Results

Transforming Professional Development into Student Results

Transforming Professional Development into Student Results


How can we create and sustain professional learning programs that actually lead to improved student achievement? In this thoughtful and informative guide for teachers, administrators, and policymakers, Douglas B. Reeves provides answers. First he casts a critical eye on professional learning that is inconsistent, unfocused, and ultimately ineffective, and explains why elaborate planning documents and "brand-name" programs are not enough to achieve desired outcomes. Then he outlines how educators at all levels can improve this situation by

• Taking specific steps to move from vision to implementation;

• Focusing on four essentials: teaching, curriculum, assessment, and leadership;

• Making action research work;

• Moving beyond the "train the trainer" model; and

• Using performance assessment systems for teachers and administrators.

If you're tired of professional development that takes up too much time and delivers too little, read Transforming Professional Development into Student Results and discover how to move toward a system that gives educators the learning experiences they need to make a measurable difference for their schools and their students.


It has been almost a decade since Guskey (2000) made the case that “Level 1” evaluation of professional learning was inadequate. His clarion call for moving from evaluation based on participant reactions to evaluation based on student learning is among the most important works in the professional development literature. That same year, Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton published one of the most influential books of the new century, The Knowing-Doing Gap (2000). Both of these books in my library bear the marks of deep respect for the authors—broken spines, turned-down pages, and many scribbled notes.

Educational leaders must now face the reality of the degree to which we have transformed the compelling words of these authors into action. It is seductively easy to remain stuck in Guskey’s Level 1, a methodology worthy of the parodies of Sally Fields’s acceptance speech at the 1985 Academy Awards ceremony—“They like me! They really like me!” Audience appreciation thus becomes the heroin of professional development, turning otherwise scholarly presenters into sycophantic praise junkies. Just as Gresham’s law holds that tainted coins drive pure ones out of circulation . . .

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