Missing link: Finding direct evidence to show a connection between a staff professional development strategy and enhanced educational outcomes for all learners

James, Jacqui and Stewart, Jane (2010) Missing link: Finding direct evidence to show a connection between a staff professional development strategy and enhanced educational outcomes for all learners. In: Tertiary Education Research in New Zealand (TERNZ) Conference 2010, 24-26 November, 2010, Dunedin, New Zealand.

[img] PDF
510Kb
[img] PDF
510Kb

Abstract or Summary

The research: The research project is a case study which aims to provide direct evidence of the connection between a specific staff development strategy, an institution-wide staff development festival day held in August, and enhanced educational outcomes for all learners (Ako Aotearoa’s vision). The research asks “What, if any, evaluation strategy will provide direct evidence of a connection between a specific staff development strategy and enhanced educational outcomes?”. Literature from the tertiary sector, which notes a theoretical link between professional development and enhanced student outcomes will be discussed. The notion that direct evidence of a connection between staff development and student outcomes can be collected and measured will be critiqued and potential ways of providing direct evidence will be explored. Why this topic is important: The accountability heat is turned up in tertiary education. Public funding is capped, there are growing professional development requirements, and each institution is expected to make “a distinctive contribution to the national goals of a high income knowledge based economy” (Ministry of Education, 2007). The staff members of a tertiary education institution (TEI) are a key resource. They are a significant component of the institutional budget and play a major role in achieving institutional objectives, providing the main interface with students (Rowley, J. 1996). Staff development activities have been found to influence teachers’ professional development (Weurlander & Stenfors-Hayes, 2008). Literature from the tertiary sector also notes the strong theoretical link between professional development and enhanced student outcomes, but direct evidence is limited. There are also gaps when it comes to definitively stating which type of professional development yields the best results (Knox, 2009). This finding challenges Ako Aotearoa’s stated goal of supporting activities, which support the best possible educational outcomes for learners in the tertiary sector. The missing link then, is direct evidence of the connection between specific staff development strategies and enhanced student outcomes. Yet organizations who fund tertiary education initiatives, such as Ako Aotearoa, and other stakeholders often require the link to be established. In an era of lifting of overall educational outcomes and an underlying culture of quality improvement (Waikato Institute of Technology, no date) a sound evaluation strategy for assessing the benefits of staff development activities is needed (Partington & Brown, 1997). How the session will be run: At the beginning of the workshop, participants will complete the following statement: Staff professional development would be beneficial to my students if ... A short role play of planning, implementing and evaluating an institution wide staff professional development festival at Wintec will set the scene for the critical discussion of the links between staff professional development and enhanced student outcomes. Reported effects of staff development and measures of enhanced student outcomes will be presented. Participants will workshop the ‘missing link’, discussing the nature of ‘direct evidence’ and exploring potential methods of collecting, measuring and reporting such data. Methods of assessing the benefits of staff development activities which provide direct evidence of a connection to enhanced educational outcomes for all learners will be proposed. The workshop will finish with a review of participants’ statements in light of the workshop discussions. Jane Stewart Waikato Institute of Technology Tristram Street Private Bag 3036 Hamilton Jane.stewart@wintec.ac.nz

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Other)
Keywords that describe the item:academic development, evaluation strategy, student outcomes
Subjects:L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions:Schools > School of Education
ID Code:882
Deposited By:
Deposited On:15 Dec 2010 00:37
Last Modified:15 Dec 2010 00:37

Repository Staff Only: item control page