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Discussion: From Professional Development to Student Outcomes

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posted by: Kalyani Raghavan on March 29, 1998 at 1:41PM
subject: Is it political science or practical science?
In response to John's comment about the kind of comparisons (based on
high and low involvement) as political science - first, the extra
classrooms observed were selected randomly for the most part except that
we wanted at least one observation from each of sixteen districts
involved in the program. Ten of those were Horizon selected classrooms.
The idea of systemic change is to promote good science teaching across
the board through our pd efforts - including those teachers that are
self-motivated, those in good districts, and the others. The point I
wished to bring out through the message is that there is some level of
change at the classroom level - not to the extent we would like - but
positive signs of change nevertheless.

This year, we are following up on a subset of these teachers' classrooms
to monitor change (if any) due to additional particiaption with ASSET pd
activities. I agree with John that unless there is a kind of mentoring
or coaching model that is able to provide guidance over a period, the re
is little chance that using good materials alone can produce the kind of
results we all hope and strive for. This requires an openness to
constructive criticism on the part of teachers.

About Brian's question - is there any connection between effective
teaching and student outcomes - it is my belief that there is. But it
requires teachers to raise their expectations of students, believe that
students are capable of more than they think. Just some ideas that came
to my mind.
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