Thomas Guskey’s five level framework for professional learning evaluation has our online community buzzing with appreciation and curiosity.

Guskey’s evaluation framework is an adapted version of Kirkpatrick’s well-known four-level model of evaluation used mostly in the field of business. Guskey writes, in his article from The Learning Professional, that “early attempts to apply the [Kirkpatrick] model to professional learning in education were challenging and proved unsuccessful.” This led Guskey to create a model of evaluation specifically for professional learning that includes systemic support and change.

In his article, Guskey points out that historically, evaluating professional learning has not been a priority for many educators and that some feel ill-equipped, but if the response from our community is any indication, then this framework may be a game changer for professional learning evaluation and how educators feel about it. As Guskey noted, “effective evaluations don’t need to be complex or resource-draining.”

Educators can use Guskey’s framework to evaluate professional development events like workshops but also any type of ongoing professional learning initiatives, such as coaching or PLCs. Additionally, Guskey’s framework is not only useful for evaluation, but can also be used for planning professional learning.

Here’s what some educators have said about Guskey’s learning evaluation framework in response to our March 5 post:

“Very interesting. I’ve never seen this model or heard of Guskey. His five levels very closely correlate to the globally used Kirkpatrick method for adult/corporate training. Some add return on investment to that model. I’m glad to see Guskey’s model used in schools. It makes sense and is easy to understand.”

Larry Holladay, education and leadership development trainer

“Over the years, Guskey’s Framework has been foundational to informing and supporting my work. Thanks for sharing and creating more visibility on this resource.”

Marion Smith Jr., assistant state superintendent of instructional programs & services

“I agree with Marion. We do a lot of EDTech PD and NGSS Institutes and this model fits into our professional develop protocols like a glove and complements how teachers during the session are both learners and facilitators. Thanks for the post!”

Todd Ullah, executive director

“My professional learning team loves the Guskey Framework. It has given us tangible ways to conceptualize the nebulous task of understanding the true impact of professional learning!”

Nicole Kukral, director of professional learning and curriculum innovation 

“This is an excellent, intriguing resource. I’m currently in a certification course learning more about evaluating professional learning. The Kaufman model of evaluation has a number of strengths, but this resource focusing on student outcomes presents helpful strategies for evaluating professional learning designed to support educators. I am saving this in my toolkit!”

Antonia Johnson, managing director of learning and design

“Looking forward to using this framework to evaluate our professional development using federal grant funding.”

Velvet Gipson, coordinator of professional learning 

“We love the inclusion of student outcomes data! 🙌”

Believe Learning

“We are always looking for ways to improve our PD! Great ideas for us to implement. Thank you for sharing!”

Erin Walker, CEO of Next Gen Math

“I like this! I am going to use this framework for my PDs.”

Christine Richmond, instructional technology coach

“Thank you! Great model to expand my thinking.”

Cindy C., HR consultant 


Members of Learning Forward get the chance to pick Guskey’s brain on March 21 in an exclusive webinar on evaluating professional learning with expert and sought-after speaker Joellen Killion. You can learn more about this webinar here.

If you would like more evaluation resources, visit