Consider a scenario where you’re a member of a school’s in-house instructional staff and you receive a link to a professional learning survey from someone at the district. For a moment you think, “Wait, I already turned in my exit ticket…the room was too cold but we had an interesting icebreaker to start the session.” When you start reading this new survey – the Standards Assessment Inventory – you realize, this is different. You are being asked to provide input on how strongly you believe your professional learning consistently adheres to high-quality standards. Your scores, combined with the scores of your colleagues, will tell a story that can make a meaningful difference in the future of professional learning in your school, district, and system.

Learning Forward’s Standards Assessment Inventory, or SAI, is a tool for district and system leaders to get to the source to discern whether their professional learning is achieving their goals with the people they are intended to support.

As we celebrate Standards Week 2023, we are reminded how Learning Forward’s Standards for Professional Learning define and describe the foundation upon which a comprehensive professional learning system is constructed. A key building block for implementing that comprehensive professional learning system grounded in the standards is the SAI.

The SAI provides valid and reliable data to help systems measure the alignment of their current professional learning practices to the standards, and to assess how well their professional learning meets the needs of their instructional staff; identify strengths and areas of focus in their professional learning; plan professional learning that gets results for teachers and students; and measure improvement over time.

Last year’s revision to the standards resulted in 11 standards (up from seven in the 2011 iteration). This presented Learning Forward with an opportunity to update the SAI and invest in technology and design upgrades. With improved functionality and looks, the new tool makes school and system data much easier to access, analyze, use, and share.

The SAI has been validated by the American Institutes for Research and widely field-tested. The updated SAI is now available to support schools and districts to implement the standards, whether they are just getting started with the standards or looking to take the next step.

How it works

The SAI is an online, confidential, and reliable instrument administered to school-based instructional staff. The tool asks instructional staff to provide their level of agreement with 74 statements about the professional learning they experience in their schools and systems. Each statement is directly aligned to one of the Standards for Professional Learning.

The survey takes about 30 minutes to complete. Instructional staff do not have to be familiar with the standards to participate. (In fact, it’s a great way to get conversations started about the standards in schools and systems.)

The SAI is completely anonymous – it is not possible to link SAI responses to any individual. When a system administers the SAI, data is collected for each school within the system as well as for the system as a whole. One or several SAI coordinators have access to all school and district reports and can share links or downloads of those reports with appropriate personnel.

After a system or school takes the survey more than once, they can track the increase or decrease in scores on each standard over time.

Multiple reports are available, each designed for ease of understanding and sharing with others. These reports give you the power to see which schools are implementing high-quality professional learning, which schools could use more support, and most importantly, what practices are in place at the strong schools that could be spread and shared at other schools. They reveal how teachers feel about the supports in place.

SAI reports give you the power to see which schools are implementing high-quality professional learning, which schools could use more support, and what practices are in place at strong schools that could be shared. Click To Tweet

Additional resources for standards implementation

Within the standards website, additional standards implementation resources are available for both coordinators and survey takers, including action guides that help shape decisions about next steps to implement a standard, tools and articles for each standard, and more.

The SAI is an incredible tool for assessing the current state of professional learning in your school and system. It helps you spread exemplary practices in your system, assess improvement efforts, identify next steps for standards implementation, and get conversations started about the standards.

For more information about the SAI, please reach out to me at