We explore the purposes of impact evaluation and what it might look like in schoolsQuote of the Week

“When a measure becomes an objective it stops being a good measure.”

− Anon

Practical Tips At this stage of the school year there is a strong likelihood that you have gathered a significant amount of feedback on various forms of professional and personal development undertaken by staff members. But is that the end of the story? In order to know how effective development is, we need to be able to do some form of impact evaluation which can then feed back into planning for professional and personal development for the future.

So why do an impact evaluation on CPD in schools? There are several key reasons:

  • Knowing that you will be evaluating impact helps to define goals and purposes of development. This can help to ensure that any development undertaken is both targeted and specific to individual or group needs.
  • Conducting an impact evaluation can tell you if your goals and purposes have been met by the development, whether in part or in full.
  • It can help to provide information on whether the development should be repeated, continued, scaled down or up.
  • There may well be unintended outcomes of some development undertaken in your school. It can be helpful to identify these and harness them if desired, or avoid them if not!
  • Impact evaluation can help to determine whether the development had an effect, or whether there were other factors at play at the time which led to change.
  • It might be that other forms of development would be more effective in the context in which you work − impact evaluation can help you to work this out.
  • And the simple bottom line… is the development actually worth it when balanced with the resources it has used?

There is no single format for conducting impact evaluation that will suit all contexts. What works best for your school is what has been developed from within it. That said, you may want to consider covering at least the following questions in any impact evaluation model that you devise for your school:

  • What is the nature of the impact of the development?
  • Has the development had a strategic importance or relevance in your school?
  • How innovative has it been in tackling some of the issues faced by your school? In particular, in tackling the issues it was intended to tackle?
  • Did you have any expectations of outcomes and if you did, when did you think they would manifest and to what extent?
  • What change has occurred as a result of the development?

Over to you…

What are your experiences of impact evaluation of the professional and personal development in your school? Get in touch with us and we may feature your school in a future issue of CPD Week: info@teachingexpertise.com

Issues and Information

TDA guidance on the revised standards for qualified teacher status If you’re working with NQTs as they go through their induction, you can now find comprehensive guidance to accompany the revised standards for qualified teacher status (QTS) and requirements for initial teacher training (ITT) on the Training and Development Agency for Schools website. This guidance is non-statutory and has been is designed to help everyone involved in the processes of initial teacher training, in particular trainees, to gain a strong understanding of the full depth and scope of the expectations of these standards and requirements.

The guidance will also be a support to those involved in the training of teachers with respect to the design, delivery and quality assurance of training programmes.  The new guidance is available free of charge on the TDA website here

It will soon be possible to order printed copies from the TDA publications line. Further information about the standards and ITT requirements can also be found on these pages.

This e-bulletin issue was first published in February 2008

About the author: Elizabeth Holmes qualified as a teacher at the Institute of Education, London and is the author of several books specialising in the areas of professional development and teacher well-being.