Saturday, September 22, 2018

Developing the nation-wide database of the quality of teacher professional development programs, events, and providers.


Developing the nation-wide database of the quality of teacher professional development programs, events, and providers.
(This project has been presented to the NSF in the form of a proposal for The NSF 2026 Idea Machine)
Teachers is the central, crucial, core, the most important element of the whole system of public education, which will remain such for at least several decades.
That is why advancing the system of teacher professional development should be one of the key elements of reforming education.
Every state has a list of registered teacher professional development providers offering workshops, courses, seminars, and other activities.
Some of those providers may do a good job helping teachers to advance their teaching practice, and some not so good. Some teachers use the information they acquired during a professional development event, and some not.
The information about the effectiveness of different professional development programs and events could be very much useful for teachers planning their Professional Development Plan.
However, currently a teacher working on his or her Individual Professional Development Plan cannot find information on the quality of available programs, how did the program one teacher attended in the past helped him or her in advancing his or her teaching practice.
This type of information would be invaluable for teachers, as well as for the researches in the field, and the governmental agencies, and also would help to stimulate providers to constantly improving and enriching their programs.
This situation can be addressed by the following:
1. Every professional development provider should register, and the state department of education should issue to each registered provider an individual code indicator (like a license plate for a car).
2. The department of education (of each level) should develop a website dedicated to the collection, systematization, and classification of the information from teachers about teacher professional development providers in such a way that every teacher could sign up for any professional development event or a course via the website; and during the signing up every teacher will be assigned an individual code. The federal department of education should manage the network of the lower level websites.
3. After each professional development event every provider should fill in a corresponded webpage with the information on the participants (according to the unified form developed by the NSF).
4. The document issued by a provider should have an individual code of the provider and an individual code of each teacher who attended an event.
5. In order to finalize the process of receiving Professional Development Points, after the completion of a Professional Development event, every teacher should go back to the website and take the survey (also developed by the NSF) regarding the quality of the professional development event or a course.
6. Next time when a teacher registers for another Professional Development event, he or she should first take a survey about the helpfulness of the previous Professional Development event.
7. All information should be stored in a searchable database, and should be used for extracting information on the quality of a Professional Development events (from the teachers’ point of view), and lead to (but no limited) the ranking of Professional Development providers.
The realization of this project would present a new and innovative approach to helping teachers with advancing their professionalism; should not draw an objection from teacher unions, and would help the government and the researchers to gather and systematize a vast amount of information about the effectiveness of various teacher professional development programs, events, providers.
This project should be the part of a wider NSF effort on the datamining in the field of education as the foundation for the development of the science of education.
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