Teachers and school leaders are responsible for the impact of professional learning on student progress and achievement

Teachers and school leaders evaluate how adjustments in their practice following professional learning impact on student progress and achievement, regularly recalibrating and refining to ensure ongoing progress and achievement for students

Key points

  • Continuous teacher improvement requires the ongoing evaluation of professional learning on teaching practice and subsequent student learning progress.

  • At a classroom level, teachers analyse student data to track the impact of new practices developed through professional learning on student progress.

Why it matters

In schools where there is a culture of continuous improvement, teachers and school leaders measure the impact of professional learning on student progress. This requires planning and articulation of processes to measure student learning following professional learning.

It is important to use a range of data sources to appropriately establish professional learning needs, and to understand the impact of professional learning on teaching practice and resultant student learning outcomes. This includes the use of both quantitative system data (such as HSC and NAPLAN) and qualitative data (such as analysis of student work samples). Understanding the impact of professional learning on teacher understanding and teaching practice is a critical first step. This may involve structured teacher reflection, teacher surveys or focus groups, analysis of lesson plans and programs and lesson observations. This can be followed by an evaluation of the impact of student learning through work sample and results analysis. It is important to understand that the impact of professional learning on teaching practice then subsequent student learning is not an immediate process – it requires planned commitment over the short, medium and long term.

Key practices

Teachers:
  • Plan how you will assess how your professional learning is making a difference to teaching practice and resultant student learning.

  • Consider working with colleagues to strengthen your evaluation of your professional learning to better understand the impact on your teaching practice.

  • Use the evaluation of previous professional learning to help determine your future professional needs.


School leaders:
  • Establish a strong culture of shared accountability within the school, where staff collectively try to understand what has worked well and what hasn’t, to inform ongoing improvements to teacher professional learning.

  • Develop systematic processes that identify and address the gaps between teaching expertise and student needs to ensure ongoing improvement to professional learning.

Illustrations of practice

This example is drawn from NSW public schools and illustrate effective practice in High Impact Professional Learning.

A review of professional learning practice at Strathfield Girls High School showed the impact of professional learning being evaluated through multiple qualitative and quantitative data sources, including student and staff feedback, classroom observations and videos of teaching practice. The school has a strong focus on assessment as a vehicle for improved student learning, with evidence guides and structures in place to identify need and demonstrate the impact of professional learning on teaching practice and student progress. This shared focus on assessment is exemplified through professional learning processes such as collaborative marking, benchmarking and mapping of student progress which foster shared accountability among teachers and inform challenging professional discussion about strengths and areas for improvement. This, in turn, informs future professional learning.   

Further reading

  • Read the research on teacher professional learning: Measuring impact

  • In What works best in practice:

    • Mimosa Public School has implemented a data wall to track their shared responsibility and accountability for student progress and achievement which informs the decisions made in terms of teaching and learning programs and changes. (Page 36)

    • The Ponds School, a school for specific purpose, strategically uses and triangulates data collected from students across diverse sources to monitor student achievement as well as identify areas where students require further support. (Page 20)

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