Jennie Harland, Emily Lamont, Pippa Lord, Holly Mitchell, Suzanne Straw
01 March 2009
The GTC’s Teacher Learning Academy (TLA) offers professional recognition of teachers’ learning and practice development. Through enquiry-based and reflective learning, teachers plan, review and evaluate their projects and the implications for themselves, their colleagues, their pupils and their school. The GTC, with additional support from the TDA, commissioned NFER to undertake an innovative evaluation of the TLA, using an ‘impact trail’ methodology to go beyond the simple ‘black box’ model of inputs and outputs with assumed attribution and causation.
The evaluation shows that self-initiated, individualised CPD, impacts on individuals’ careers, and also benefits the wider school. Teachers’ self-reports and a range of corroborating evidence demonstrates the impacts. Researchers developed tools to support the evidencing of impact. School leaders were particularly keen to have tools to record and monitor the impacts of CPD within their school.
Teachers’ use of classroom-level pupil data, as opposed to national assessment data, to examine impacts was encouraging, as it means teachers were not opting for the ‘black box’ approach to assessing impact. Teachers should consider further the range of evidence they could collect to demonstrate impacts (e.g. before and after assessments, lesson plans, pupils’ views through discussion groups, conversations with colleagues).