Learning activity on “How to evaluate impact of PD activities”, Sweden
A transnational learning activity within the STEM PD Net project was held in the first week of June in Gothenburg, Sweden. The participants gathered to learn from each other and to further develop a ready-to-use guide for evaluating the quality and impact of professional development initiatives, which is one of the work areas in the STEM PD Net Project. The activity was hosted by the National Center for Mathematics Education (NCM) at the University of Gothenburg.
The program included opportunities for participants to present PD activities that their institutions are involved in, and the ways that these activities are evaluated. The presentations, and the questions, answers and discussions they evoked, gave the participants many insights into the competence and wide variety of experience represented among the project members represented in the meeting.
A first draft of the ready-to-use guide on evaluation of PD was presented at the meeting, and a substantial amount of time was given to deliberations concerning the content of the guide and on concrete work with developing the text. Furthermore, in a brain storm activity, all participants contributed alternative, less often used, methods of evaluating PD. A range of such methods were listed and grouped, and a few of the identified types of alternative evaluations methods were selected for inclusion in the guide. By the end of the meeting a new and developed version of the ready-to-use guide was produced and delivered to the lead of the work area for further development.
During the week in Gothenburg, participants were also given the opportunity to visit a Swedish lower secondary school and attend two lessons, one in mathematics and the other in technology. After the lessons, the participants were given ample time to ask the Swedish teachers about the school, the Swedish school system, and teachers professional development including how teachers evaluated the impact of PD.
Overall, the learning activity can be described as a very focussed, enjoyable and fruitful meeting leading to a deeper understanding of the complex issue of evaluating professional development initiatives.